West Seattle, Washington
(photo added 9:20 am, thanks to David)
ORIGINAL REPORT: Trying to get to a “heavy rescue” 911 call at 11th/Spokane (map), Harbor Island vicinity, we are stuck in a mess near the Delridge approach to the low bridge, and we see police on the low bridge. Stay away at all costs, it’s gridblock, even to try to turn west back onto W Marginal. UPDATE: Just heard it’s an overturned semi (photo above, added 9:20 am), so that’s why the low bridge is blocked before you get to the scene. Trying to get west onto West Marginal or SW Spokane back toward the rest of WS – the problem is a huge amount of diverted semitruck traffic trying to get up onto the high bridge the other way. Gridlock as a result. This city camera has a partial view of the backup west of the crash, Marginal/Chelan. ADDED 9:31 AM: Two of our pics taken as we came off Delridge into the jammed intersection at Delridge/Marginal/Spokane – police officer at blocked west end of low bridge, followed by the truck-dominated traffic viewed facing north.
Odd irony that today is the start of the Spokane Street work we’ve been reminding you about – and in fact we were about to head to check out the start of the detour, just as we got word of this – but that’s happening about a mile east, and this crash had NOTHING to do with it. Just heard on the radio that this may not be cleared until about 10:15; we’ll post updates as we get them. (Admiral and Fauntleroy approaches are obviously your better bet to get on the high bridge but with the low bridge out of commission, they’re likely slower too.) 9:45 AM UPDATE: Got a note from Hawk, who’s on a Route 21 Metro bus “that was re-routed all the way down to the 1st avenue bridge” – a reminder that this is affecting buses too. 9:52 AM UPDATE: Bike commuter Simon sent the following photo looking back westward toward the wreck scene, and notes that bicyclists/pedestrians are being allowed across the low bridge.
10:13 AM UPDATE: In comments, another West Seattle bike commuter, Aaron, says he saw the truck topple: “I watched this all go down, it was surreal. Not sure what caused the truck to lose balance, but as I was coming over the lower level bridge on my bike, the truck appeared to drop down off the curb, sway, and then ease over on its side. Driver was able to climb out and appeared unharmed.” 10:36 AM UPDATE: Just confirmed this with a drive through the area – the low bridge has reopened and the gridlock near the West Seattle-side approach has cleared.
From WSDOT: “The on-ramp from Spokane Street to southbound I-5 is closed due to an oil spill from an earlier collision that involving a semi truck. The ramp will be closed while crews apply absorbent material to the roadway. WSDOT maintenance and incident response are on-scene.” We’ll let you know when we get word it’s reopened. 2:30 PM UPDATE: Open again.
We’ve seen the flashes and heard the thunder — watch out for another bout of nasty weather on your drive home — though we can see a bit of sun over Vashon, it’s solid ominous gray looking toward Bainbridge and points northwest. Here’s the latest forecast; remember you can check out all the area traffic cameras here. (And here’s the radar link; thanks to Amy for that.) 4:41 PM UPDATE: OK, *that* flash was RIGHT HERE – the thunder followed almost immediately.
Just in from WSDOT: “A roll-over collision is blocking the three left lanes of southbound I-5, just south of Spokane Street in Seattle. Fire and aid are on scene. WSDOT Incident Response is en-route.” Here’s the camera (what it shows, depends on where its operators focus it):
11:05 AM UPDATE: WSDOT says the crash has cleared but traffic is backed up a few miles into downtown.
We’re still watching the situation that’s blocked the West Seattle Bridge ramp to southbound I-5 — a tipped truck blocking the ramp for about an hour now. Interesting info in the latest update from WSDOT:
The incident knocked over a streetlight and damaged a portion of the railing. Drivers should expect delays. … A WSDOT bridge inspection team is enroute to inspect damage to the on ramp. WSP and WSDOT Incident Response Teams are on the scene. The Washington State Patrol has activated the Blok-Buster program for this incident. Blok-Buster, a joint program with WSDOT, WSP and local tow companies offers a $2,500 incentive to a tow company if they are able to clear the semi-truck in 90 minutes or less. This program, active in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties, requires tow companies to bring additional tow trucks to get the roadway open more quickly. Traffic accidents are unpredictable and heavy truck incident sare the “worst of the worst.” This program is an innovative way to clear these traffic incidents faster and safer.
11:13 AM UPDATE: WSDOT now says two tow trucks have arrived, and while they’ve pulled the truck onto I-5, the ramp remains blocked, as do the three right lanes of southbound I-5 at that spot, resulting in a one-mile backup through downtown. 11:35 AM UPDATE: I-5/Spokane cam is back on the truck, and it appears to be upright now, so this may be cleared soon. 12:17 PM UPDATE: All clear now. The state says the light is fixed but the railing won’t be fixed till tomorrow.
(traffic-cam image moved to newest post)
This just in from WSDOT: “The Spokane Street on ramp to southbound I-5 is blocked due to a semi that has tipped onto its side. Traffic traveling eastbound on the West Seattle Bridge is backing up.” 10:50 AM UPDATE: The camera view we have up now is a city-operated camera looking at that onramp.
Just in from the state Transportation Department: “WSDOT crews have closed the two left lanes of southbound I-5 just south of the West Seattle Bridge for emergency road work. Drivers should expect delays and use alternate routes.”
Just in from SDOT:
Motorists are advised to use caution when traveling southbound on Highway 99, before the West Seattle Bridge exit, south of downtown Seattle. Pavement is damaged in the middle lane. Seattle Department of Transportation crews are responding to make emergency repairs. The lane will be closed until repairs are completed, later today.
2:44 PM UPDATE: SDOT says it now expects the lane closure/repairs to happen around 3:30 and to take less than half an hour. 3:34 PM UPDATE: The repairs are done, so this shouldn’t be an issue for the rest of the commute.
Just got word of a crash on the high bridge, westbound, causing backups on The Viaduct and elsewhere. Stand by for details. 5:55 PM UPDATE: The bridge cam and 911 show the Fire Department just closed the incident, so hopefully it will clear before too long. In the cameras on the Traffic page, you can see that while the view looking east at the westbound bridge looks like a semi-normal backup, it’s clearly a chokepoint just before the camera view, because the view looking west at the final stretch of the westbound bridge (same one you see in the righthand sidebar on all WSB pages) is way too empty for this time of day.
Thanks to Deborra for sending word. It’s also in the Traffic.com alerts you can find from the WSB Traffic page anytime – “Highway 99 – Past W. Seattle Brg – accident blocking all lanes – involving a hazmat situation; also blocking the on ramp from Spokane St.” 10:29 AM UPDATE: Note from this city traffic camera that the ramp off The Bridge is closed and things are already pretty jammed heading eastbound on The Bridge – see the “live” image (refresh the page for the latest) above. 10:39 AM UPDATE: Radio reports say the accident involves a gravel truck. We’re also checking to see if the “viaduct closed when flashing” lights are working, just out of curiosity. 10:45 AM UPDATE: The southernmost one on 35th is. 11 AM UPDATE: The “live” picture above shows that the ramp to The Viaduct just reopened, so all this should clear up in a while.
In addition to the road closures/restrictions on and around California SW because of the West Seattle Grand Parade (detailed here) — and a parking crunch expected around Hiawatha all weekend because of the Mediterranean Festival — the city also has announced three road-work projects for today: Holden is closed most of the day between 11th and Highland Park Way (as noted here) for pavement work; the city expects to reopen Holden to eastbound traffic by 5 tonight, to westbound by noon tomorrow. Two smaller projects: Another SDOT crew is repairing pavement on Delridge in two spots, and flaggers will be used at each: First, they’ll work on Delridge between Alaska and Edmunds; when done there, they’ll move on ot a spot between Hudson and Puget Blvd. Finally, the third spot: Expect eastbound lane restrictions on Roxbury between 15th and 16th, 9 am-3 pm (approximately) as SDOT does sidewalk repair at the southeast corners of those intersections. The sidewalk on the east side of Roxbury will be closed at those spots during the work; westbound traffic and the west-side sidewalk won’t be affected.