All hands on deck when semi overturns on I-5

by guest blogger Mike Murphy

All hands on deck for this mess on I-5
Originally uploaded by WSDOT.

It was a case of being in the right place at the right time.

When a semi-truck lost its load on northbound I-5 in Federal Way on Tuesday afternoon, our construction crews were close by to help with the cleanup.

The truck’s trailer overturned on the freeway right next to the area where we’re working to build two new flyover ramps between I-5 and Highway 18.

WSDOT inspector Ken Stamper was first on the scene, using his truck to block off lanes. A front-end loader from Mowat Construction wasn’t far behind, ready to scoop up the huge chunks of scrap metal that were littering the entire freeway. A WSDOT street sweeper was also in the area and came to help.

While the heavy equipment moved the metal back into the trailer bed, other construction crews grabbed brooms to sweep up the mess. Traffic was moving again within the hour.

A class-C tow truck was needed to upright the overturned semi. (There’s only so much our crews can do!)

Normally, when a semi loses its load on the freeway it can block lanes for several hours. Just getting cleanup crews through the long backup usually takes awhile. But in this case, WSDOT and contractor crews instantly sprung into action when duty called right next to their work zone.

Aleta Borschowa, WSDOT’s construction engineer on the project, said they plan for situations just like this. “Whenever the State Patrol asks for help, we’re more than happy to lend a hand,” she said.
These workers were part of a project to build two new flyover ramps that will eliminate lane weaving at the busy I-5/SR 18/SR 161 interchange.