Remember the truck-on-its-side incident that closed southbound Highway 99 for nine hours last month (WSB coverage here), leading to domino-effect backups around the city and trapping drivers/riders on the Alaskan Way Viaduct?
(March 24 photo courtesy Chi Krneta)
The city went public today with its first version of an “after-action report” looking at the intricacies of why it took so long and what could change before the next one:
(Note the fine print at the bottom of the cover page, saying “The City of Seattle will be utilizing an external consultant to fully investigate this incident …”)
Reading through the report, you’ll note it includes a more detailed timeline than was released shortly after the incident.
(March 24th photo, included in report)
Part of what that reveals: Nobody contacted Seattle Tunnel Partners, whose equipment-laden worksite was yards away, until 6:30 pm, four hours after the crash. Within ten minutes of that contact, STP offered equipment to help clear the wrecked truck. But no STP equipment was used until almost 9:30 pm, when the tunnel contractor’s “Sky Jacks” were used to unload part of the truck trailer’s load of fish so it could be moved. (By the way, the report identifies the fish as cod, not salmon as we were told the day it happened, worth “$450,000 to $750,000.)
The report goes into a list of what needs to happen by June 30th – as “SPD and SDOT will expeditiously develop protocols that prioritize incident response decision making on arterial streets” – and that list gives hints as to what didn’t work so well during the March 24th response, including:
… Ensure that City personnel have requisite expertise to make sophisticated on-scene assessments or have access to necessary external expertise. For example, if onscene personnel had access to on-scene engineer, more critical information and analysis could have been incorporated into the decision-making process.
…(Be aware of w)hat other resources (equipment, personnel, or private sector relationships) could be brought to bear on incident management. For example, would prior agreements and protocols have made STPs loan of Skyjacks to unload the trailer easier and quicker? If prior agreements were in place with the Port of Seattle or other private loading companies, could additional heavy equipment been utilized?
f. Ensure that current communications systems are adequate to ensure accurate and timely responses to incidents. For example, was there a delay in the arrival of heavy class tow-truck?
“Engineering problem” was in fact how SPD spokesperson Sgt. Sean Whitcomb described it in a conversation with WSB the day after the crash (included in our followup report). He also said at that time that a citation would likely be issued; the report released today says, in fact, “The operator would later be cited by SPD for exceeding reasonable speed.”