Traffic

‘It literally looks like the semi took a nap,’ trooper says of crash that blocked I-5

A crane helps right a semi that overturned on southbound Interstate 5 near the North Lake Samish exit early Friday south of Bellingham.
A crane helps right a semi that overturned on southbound Interstate 5 near the North Lake Samish exit early Friday south of Bellingham. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

A single-vehicle accident south of Bellingham snarled southbound Interstate 5 traffic for nearly seven hours early Friday after a semi truck got into the median near the North Lake Samish exit and rolled on its side.

“It literally looks like the semi took a nap,” Washington State Patrol Trooper Heather Axtman told The Bellingham Herald. “It got into the median and just tipped over.”

It wasn’t until 9:33 a.m. that the Washington State Department of Transportation was able to tweet that the freeway had been cleared, allowing a five-mile backup to begin to unclog.

The driver of the 39,000-pound rig hauling plastic window pieces was not seriously hurt, Axtman said, as he was treated for some lacerations.

The State Patrol is investigating the cause of the crash, which occurred at 2:49 a.m. near milepost 246. Though there was snow in the area, Axtman said pictures showed the roadway was only wet at the time.

The crash blocked both southbound lanes and forced WSDOT to detour traffic off I-5 at the North Lake Samish exit and having it re-enter three miles south at Nulle Road. WSDOT also advised drivers use alternate routes, such as Chuckanut Drive.

With snow in the forecast, here are some tips to get you ready for driving in wintry weather.

David Rasbach joined The Bellingham Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news. He has been an editor and writer in several western states since 1994.
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