Skip to main content
The Nimitz Freeway Collapse
The Physics Teacher (2004)
  • Bernard J. Feldman, University of Missouri–St. Louis
One of the most tragic sights created by the Loma Prieta earthquake of Oct. 17, 1989, was the collapse of the double-deck Nimitz Freeway (the Cypress Street Viaduct on Interstate 880) just south and east of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in Oakland. Along a 1.4-km north-south stretch, the upper deck of the freeway fell on top of the lower deck of the freeway, killing 42 motorists (see Fig. 1). Even though the earthquake occurred during rush hour (5:04 p.m.), traffic was extremely light that day because the third game of the World Series between the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants was about to begin and many commuters were already at home in front of their television sets.
Publication Date
January 10, 2004
Citation Information
Bernard J. Feldman. "The Nimitz Freeway Collapse" The Physics Teacher Vol. 42 Iss. 7 (2004) p. 400 - 402
Available at: