Issaquah traffic snarled after truck overturns at Highlands Drive exit
September 7, 2010
By Laura Geggel
UPDATED — 7:25 p.m. Sept. 7, 2010
Traffic remained snarled in Issaquah hours after a flatbed tractor-trailer carrying a load of I-beams overturned on Highlands Drive Northeast at Interstate 90’s Exit 18.
The accident occurred at 5:09 p.m. Tuesday in the middle of the afternoon commute.
Police and fire agencies closed the interstate at Exit 18, causing traffic heading east to back up for about seven miles, to near Exit 11.
Initially, police did not allow drivers onto eastbound I-90 at Front Street North, causing traffic to back up throughout Issaquah. Police later opened the interstate, but traffic was still crawled more than two hours after the accident.
Each I-beam weighs between 800 pounds and 1,500 pounds, depending on its length, Washington State Patrol spokesman Jason Greer said.
“The only thing keeping it up was a Washington Department of Transportation traffic camera,” Greer said.
The man driving the truck was headed to the under-construction Swedish Medical Center campus in the Issaquah Highlands.
Firefighters were there at the scene pouring sand around storm drains to keep diesel fuel from running into it. A sheen of fuel could be seen on the roadway from the truck all the way down to the bottom of the exit ramp.
EFR called the state Department of Ecology to make sure there were no issues with the fuel leak, especially because it was raining, EFR Battalion Chief Glenn Huffman said.
EFR worked with the Washington State Patrol, the Issaquah Police Department and the state Department of Transportation, closing I-90 for about a half-hour while a tow truck worked to dislodge the beam stuck over the barricade.
A tow truck flipped the truck back on its wheels and a forklift helped to reload the scattered I-beams onto the truck for removal.