For Al Falchi, news that a tanker explosion in late April had melted a sizeable chunk of the knot of elevated highways called the MacArthur Maze near his San Francisco restaurant prompted a feeling of déjà vu.

Falchi, who has owned The Waterfront restaurant on San Francisco’s Pier 7 for 37 years, has seen the nearby freeways fall before—like after the Lomo Prieta earthquake of 1989—and he has endured several lengthy construction

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