Truck accident closes southbound I-5

The Interstate was reopened in time for Friday rush hour traffic
by: Jim Clark, A pipe from a truck struck the edge of the railing on the Marquam Bridge Friday, causing the closure of southbound I-5 and dropping concrete onto the OMSI parking lot.

A 39,000-pound concrete pipe that fell off a flatbed truck traveling southbound on Interstate 5 Friday morning caused major traffic jams in the Portland area for hours.

The accident closed all southbound lanes of Interstate 5 at the north end of the Marquam Bridge, but all lanes were reopened in time for rush hour Friday afternoon.

As of 1:15 p.m., southbound traffic on I-5 was being diverted to southbound Interstate 405 to avoid the accident scene. But the diversion and the closed highway were affecting traffic throughout the area, especially westbound traffic on Interstate 84, said Oregon Department of Transportation spokesman Dave Thompson.

A large crane was on site by midday Friday, to help lift the pipe off the highway, Thompson said.

Hazardous material teams were also on site because of the roughly 45 gallons of diesel fuel that had leaked out of the cab of the flatbed truck. The truck was partially overturned in the accident, which occurred about 9:15 a.m. No one was injured in the accident.

Thompson said he did not know what caused the flatbed truck to lose its load. The concrete pipe slammed into the bridge barrier on right side of southbound I-5, toward the north end of the Marquam Bridge. Pieces of displaced concrete from the bridge fell into several cars in the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry parking lot below.