Following a tragic multi-vehicle pileup on Wednesday, another accident led to a second large shutdown of Interstate 5 southbound in the Willamette Valley, creating what the Oregon Department of Transportation called “an extraordinarily tough scenario.”
I-5 southbound lanes were closed south of U.S. 20 on Wednesday due to a jackknifed semi-trailer. At milepost 228 (south of Albany) and the Oregon 34 intersection, southbound I-5 remained closed, according to ODOT on Wednesday night. South of Oregon 228 near Brownsville, the freeway’s southbound lanes were already reopened in full.
UPDATE: ANOTHER jackknifed semi has now closed SB I-5 south of US 20 in #Albany. Traffic detoured at US 20. Delay travel SB, or take EXTREME caution on alternate routes. They’re very busy.
— OregonDOT (@OregonDOT) October 19, 2022
On Wednesday morning, one person was killed in a multi-vehicle collision on Oregon’s Interstate 5 due to dense fog. About 60 automobiles, including up to 20 semi trucks, were involved in the pileup in the southbound lanes of I-5 north of Eugene, according to the Oregon State Police.
According to ODOT, all northbound lanes are open as of Wednesday afternoon, although delays are to be expected as traffic is moving slowly. The incidents on Wednesday morning, 16 miles north of the Beltline Highway intersection, covered more than a mile and shut down the southbound lanes of that section of the interstate.
Six of the semis had fluid leaks, and the Department of Environmental Quality was called to fix them, according to the police. Several dozen stranded drivers were reportedly transported to a neighbouring truck stop by school buses sent from Eugene.
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According to police, authorities think the crash was caused by the area’s dense fog. New wrecks caused the closure to be prolonged around noon. Due to the earlier accident, two multi-vehicle incidents, as well as the Oregon 34 Corvallis-Lebanon exit, the interstate lanes were shut down all the way to milepost 211.
At milepost 231, authorities opened one southbound lane beginning at 4:30 p.m. south of Albany. According to ODOT, traffic from southbound I-5 is being diverted to OR 99E at OR 34, the Corvallis exit (milepost 228). Because of many crashes, southbound I-5 is still closed between OR 34 and milepost 211.
Drivers should use caution, use detours where possible, and keep an eye out for emergency vehicles on both sides of the road. Before the freeway can reopen, material leaks at the crash site must be cleaned up.
Officials from the Department of Transportation tweeted, “BE PATIENT & SLOW DOWN.”
@OregonDOT has temporarily dropped the cable barrier to try to divert traffic back northbound. School buses from Eugene have arrived to help transport stranded motorists to Pioneer Villa at exit 216.
— Oregon State Police (@ORStatePolice) October 19, 2022