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Region’s traffic snarled after semi crash, fire on I-405 in Bellevue

(Washington State Patrol)

A semi truck caught on fire after striking a light pole on I-405 through Bellevue early Friday morning. All northbound lanes were shut down, and three southbound lanes were closed following the incident.

All lanes of the freeway reopened by 7 a.m. but the crash caused massive backups on I-405, affecting traffic throughout the region over the Friday morning commute.

“A semi was traveling northbound and went out of control, jackknifed, struck a light pole which fell into the southbound lanes,” Trooper Rick Johnson said. “The semi cab caught on fire. The driver is OK, he was able to get out.”

The driver was treated for minor injuries.

“The semi was essentially going too fast for the wet roadways,” he said. “….Of course wet roadways are more slick than dry roads. We’re getting to that time of year to slow down…”

The incident happened shortly before 4 a.m. Crews worked to clear the scene on the freeway, between 4th and 8th Streets. Six other vehicles were struck in the southbound lanes by the light pole and other debris from the crash. No injuries were reported.

Region-wide traffic impacts

Trooper Johnson said that “the surface roads in Bellevue are going to be taking the brunt of this.” Traffic was diverted to collector-distributor lanes around 4th and 8th Streets. WSDOT recommended that commuters use other routes, or even work from home.

Congestion had grown to a four mile backup by 6:20 a.m.

“…that is expected to grow as we continue on into the morning commute,” said Marqise Allen with WSDOT, shortly after the crash. “… just avoid the area. If you can delay the start of your day, work from home, use alternate routes. Do whatever you can this morning to mix up your commute if you rely on 405. There is going to be quite a bit of congestion out there.”

“This is really going to have region-wide impacts,” he said, noting that I-5, I-90 and other connecting routes were expected to slow as a result of I-405’s closure.

 

(Washington State Patrol)

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