Interstate 90 slows to crawl after tractor-trailer fire
August 30, 2011
By Warren Kagarise
Traffic slowed to a crawl along eastbound Interstate 90 late in the afternoon of Aug. 26 as a tractor-trailer burned along the roadway.
The truck driver managed to stop the vehicle on the road shoulder just west of the Front Street North exit before escaping from the rig at about 4 p.m.
State troopers reopened all lanes by 5:30 p.m., but motorists faced significant delays into the early evening.
Trooper Julie Startup, a Washington State Patrol spokeswoman, said the truck had not been hauling any hazardous material. The driver escaped unharmed.
“The semi was able to make it onto the shoulder, but is burning up pretty steadily over there,” she said.
Troopers stopped traffic in the eastbound lanes at state Route 900. The backup stretched for six miles as the afternoon commute started to peak.
King County Metro Transit and Sound Transit riders in the Issaquah area faced delays as the mass transit agencies rerouted buses to compensate for the closed highway.
Eastside Fire & Rescue crews responded to the blaze as people climbed atop nearby buildings to see the flames. The fire destroyed the cab, but did not appear to do much damage to the trailer.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Startup said troopers had yet to determine the contents of the tractor-trailer by late Aug. 26.
Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.