UPDATE: Driver hits, snaps pole along West Marginal Way SW

(Photo sent by Elizabeth)

9:40 AM: Thanks for the tips and photos! That crash scene is attracting attention along northbound West Marginal Way SW [map], with a pickup-truck driver hitting and breaking a utility pole.

(Photo sent by Bradly)

The SFD log shows this was reported before dawn, just after 5:30 this morning. Texters say repairs are still under way; we are headed that way to look shortly. The log also indicates no medic unit dispatched, so apparently no major injuries, but we are following up with SFD to confirm.

10:24 AM: Truck and pole are still there, and the NB lanes are coned off, but traffic is getting by both ways. The City Light map also shows a 2-customer outage in the area.

1:12 PM: SFD spokesperson David Cuerpo says the driver was an 18-year-old man with no reported injuries.

6:03 PM: Via @essrez on Twitter, pole repairs were under way at dusk.

22 Replies to "UPDATE: Driver hits, snaps pole along West Marginal Way SW"

  • Jort December 5, 2020 (12:13 pm)

    Repairing that light pole will probably cost about as much as a bike lane! Needless to say, the great scourge of humanity’s transportation struggles, cyclists, do not typically wreak such havoc on our environment, but as soon as one cyclists rolls through one stop sign, people will still act as though we’ve descended into true anarchy.

  • SJ December 5, 2020 (12:45 pm)

    I am deeply confused by the physics of this – can anyone explain?

    • hj December 5, 2020 (1:20 pm)

      I would be happy to explain. The truck pushed the bottom of the pole off of its base, away from the road. Because the top of the pole is still attached to the power lines, the force of the vehicle caused the pole to snap in the middle. Now instead of the pole holding up the lines, the pole is hanging off of the lines, causing that angle you see.

    • bolo December 5, 2020 (1:28 pm)

      (guessing) Maybe you are confused because you expected the pole to fall towards the building? The wires are still holding the top of the pole up.

    • SJ December 5, 2020 (2:26 pm)

      Thanks! I hadn’t considered the wires moving the pole back after it snapped. I would have predicted that the pole would break at the bottom instead of the middle. Those must be some strong wires (fortunately for the driver). Glad to hear no serious injuries.

  • Just wondering December 5, 2020 (12:46 pm)

    Went by an hour ago.  Everything looks like the photo still but they are working to turn off the electric wires.  Then I guess they can remove and replace the broken pole.  What a job!

  • Onceler December 5, 2020 (1:36 pm)

    I’m surprised we don’t see more accidents here.  It literally sounds like there’s a Nascar track below S Seattle College  pretty much all night long (following the daily 14 hour traffic jam.)   I hope the driver is doing better than that pole.   BTW at   6:30 am this morning I heard crazy loud jack hammers hammering, tank scaling howls- or whatever is happening  down at Glacier NW-there is no way that City noise ordinances are being followed in the Duwamish Valley nor speed limits along WM Way.   

    • driver December 5, 2020 (5:35 pm)

      Agreed, car are typically going over 40 MPH.

      • Onceler December 5, 2020 (7:11 pm)

        How fast does one have to go to do that to a telephone pole?   People do go over 40, most people.  40 mph feels safe (or even painfully slow given the visibility and wide flat roads),  however, people are going much faster at night and the area has become the place to get your Fast and Furious on, when most of the area is trying to sleep.  If you don’t live on the greenbelt or cruise W Marginal at 3am, you wouldn’t  know. 

        • WSB December 5, 2020 (7:49 pm)

          We don’t know what factored into this crash. Also note that it was pre-dawn and even at midmorning, we noticed frost-slick roads in some spots.

          • BBILL December 5, 2020 (10:42 pm)

            I saw the truck get towed away, and the physical damage to the front of the truck was extensive–much greater than I’d expect from a low speed collision. Speed was likely a factor, and probably not the only.

        • ITotallyAgreeWithYou December 5, 2020 (11:36 pm)

          W. Marginal Way has been used for late night racing for at least 30 years, going by personal knowledge. You don’t have to be on top of it to hear it. It can be heard from the Admiral district quite clearly. 

  • David December 5, 2020 (3:12 pm)

    Hopefully the vehicle has insurance as this is going to be a $50,000 bill by the time that City Light replaces the damage on double secret overtime for the line crew.

    • BBILL December 5, 2020 (4:51 pm)

      Delayed maintenance … Suggesting someone else be responsible to pay the cost to replace poles that maybe should have already been replaced.

  • uncle loco December 5, 2020 (3:27 pm)

    Ha, I saw an oversize load truck pulling a single telephone pole turn onto West Marginal way this morning on my way to work. I guess this explains why.  Thanks WSB.

  • flimflam December 5, 2020 (4:58 pm)

    i certainly hope if the driver was at fault they or their insurance will be paying for this….

  • LuLuBelle December 5, 2020 (5:59 pm)

    Jort. Vehicle drivers should be called out for not following state;county;city traffic laws. And to let you know bike riders and pedestrians ALSO HAVE laws they need to follow. Don’t you agree?

    • Keep rollin December 6, 2020 (1:08 am)

      However, there are some shared rules for drivers and cyclists that don’t make as much sense for bikes, which is why recently some laws are being reviewed and changed, for example, the law changed to allow cyclists to legally roll through stop sign intersections, when its safe and makes sense to do so, when no other cars are at the intersection when the bike arrives there.

      The laws and breaking of some laws by drivers and cyclists doesn’t hold equal potential risks and consequences, as cars are generally more a danger than bikes are, due to size, weight, speed, etc of vehicle.

  • Kathy McLaughlin December 5, 2020 (9:30 pm)

    Crews were still out working at about 8:15 PM.

    • WSB December 5, 2020 (10:10 pm)

      Thank you for the update!

  • Steve December 6, 2020 (4:21 am)

    They just don’t make them like they used too.

  • 22blades December 6, 2020 (5:38 am)

    Frangible poles. Not a bad idea, I guess. Physics was not his forte’. It’s amazing what the human body can take. 8 or 9 sustained fighter pilot G’s with some help with a G Suit. 42.6 G’s for a short sustained test period like USAF Colonel Stapp on a rocket sled. A momentary 53 G’s impacted on your face if you’re boxing. (BTW, you’re reading this at 1 G.)

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