Trucker dies as big-rig plummets off SF bridge

November 9, 2009 (SAN FRANCISCO) The rig hauling pears was traveling at high speed when the driver lost control on a westbound S-curve, California Highway Patrol Sgt. Trent Cross said. The rig went over the side and landed on Yerba Buena Island.

The name of the trucker was not immediately released.

Lanes were closed following the pre-dawn crash, backing up traffic during the morning commute.

The California Department of Transportation was inspecting the bridge for damage, spokeswoman Lauren Wonder said.

It was the first fatality on the S-curve since it opened Sept. 8. The speed limit drops from 50 mph to 35 mph on the stretch -- a temporary detour until construction on a new, seismically safe eastern span of the bridge is completed.

Transportation officials have installed additional measures to improve traction and remind drivers about the change in the speed limit since a big-rig overturned Oct. 14, tying up traffic for hours on the section, Wonder said.

Officials also plan to install a sign showing drivers their speed.

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