It's the A-Race-Ing Maze! (and not related, but SFist Rain, how awesome that the finale of Amazing Race All-Stars was in SF?) As promised, Caltrans's work around the clock paid off handsomely, with a triumphant announcement yesterday evening (.pdf) that they were reopening the W 80-S 880 connection (the lower level of the collapse) as of 5 a.m. this morning. It took them about a week to get it working again! And apparently, traffic's flowing just fine. Hip hip hooray, California ingenuity and hard work!

Caltrans is now going to work on getting a contractor to fix the upper-level E 580 connection -- and the target date for its reopening is June 27. (Webcast of the bids here.) The lowest bid for the 580 span is less than $1 million -- which we admit sounds a little low to us (gulp), but Caltrans assures us that nothing is going up that isn't safe, on the "would you drive your family on this road" test.

There's also a fascinating article about why it doesn't make sense just to ditch the entire maze idea and have an interchange system that doesn't require you to, say, cut across 5 lanes of traffic to get to where you're going. Basically, it works well enough. (We were going to say "if it ain't broke, don't fix it," but then it occurred to us that it is basically kind of broken right now, right?)

Caltrans has some really awesome pictures of the repairs up at their site. This one's from May 1 and was taken by John Huseby.