It was tough driving in Orinda on Tuesday after a car caught on fire in the Caldecott Tunnel, causing the closure of the tunnel’s two eastbound bores and leaving many motorists stuck inside.

KPIX reports that a car caught fire inside Orinda’s Caldecott Tunnel at around 10 am Tuesday morning, briefly causing both of the tunnels’ eastbound Route 24 lanes to be blocked. Over the course of nearly three hours, one of the tunnel bores was opened, motorists were slowly cleared from the bore with the burning car in it, and all lanes and bores were eventually reopened at about 12:40 pm Tuesday.


You can actually see the blazing car in the above video on the left, posted at 10:19 am. Stuck motorists are clearly frustrated and honking horns, many getting out of their immobilized cars to take pictures and video. Additional videos show emergency vehicles making their way into the tunnel, but clearly many drivers are simply unable to move anywhere.

Smoke is visibly pouring out of the tunnel in the tweet posted above, which noted at 10:14 am that “both lanes are shut down.” But at least by about 10:30 am, the stuck motorists were given access to the other eastbound bore.

“​​All eastbound lanes on State Route 24 at Caldecott Tunnel are closed due to a vehicle fire inside Bore #2,” Caltrans said at 10:37 am.  “Bore #1 is being used to clear Bore #2 traffic and will re-open once all cleared. Unknown on when highway will reopen.”

Per KPIX, one of the bores was reopened to traffic by 10:55 am. But by then, obviously, quite a bit of traffic had piled up. “Traffic before the Caldecott tunnel at 12:20 is stupid smh,” one individual posted to Twitter.

Both eastbound lanes of Caldecott Tunnel had reopened by 12:45 pm. Drivers were advised that they might experience “Residual Delays on Eastbound CA-24 at Caldecott Tunnel.” And if you’re heading through Orinda eastbound, an alternate route might still be a good idea.

Related: SUV Catches Fire on Upper Deck of Bay Bridge [SFNews]

Image: @bradgessler via Twitter