I-5 reopens after overturned tanker truck blocked freeway all day

Feb 27, 2017, 10:44 AM | Updated: Dec 19, 2017, 5:27 pm

Crews started to open both northbound and southbound lanes of I-5 through Seattle around 6:10 p.m. Monday, after the freeway was shut down because of an overturned tanker truck.

Photos: Overturned tanker snarls Seattle traffic

The collector-distributor lanes from I-5, including the James Street ramp to the southbound lanes, remained closed as crews continued to clean up after the incident. Those lanes were slowly reopened around 7:05 p.m.

Check traffic before you go

Tanker truck traffic

The blocked lanes pushed traffic to Seattle surface streets all day after the truck overturned and blocked the freeway around 10 a.m. The tanker was carrying butane gas. All the gas had to be moved into another tanker before the truck could be tipped upright and moved. The job took all day, leaving many stranded on the freeway. Luckily, there was a taco truck nearby, for some of them.

Nearly all major north-south routes experienced delays. The I-5 Express Lanes switched early to the northbound direction.

Related: Possibility of more lowland snow across Puget Sound

The Seattle fire battalion chief said the tanker may have had a minor leak while it sat on its side all day. Since it was carrying butane, police officers evacuated homeless encampments and extinguished campfires near the crash site. The Seattle Fire Department’s HAZMAT team investigated.

An SUV and pickup were also involved in the crash. Three people were transported to Harborview Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries, according to the Seattle Fire Department.

Drive times throughout the region were affected Monday afternoon:
Alderwood to Southcenter: 128 mins
Federal Way to Bellevue: 83 mins
Redmond to Seattle: 102 mins

Several ramps closed around the scene: 

    • S Columbian Way on-ramp to northbound I-5
    • S Spokane St. on-ramp to northbound I-5
    • W Seattle Br on-ramp to northbound I-5
    • Southbound I-5 off-ramp to 4th Ave. S
    • Southbound I-5 off-ramp to Airport Way
    • Westbound I-90 to southbound I-5
    • Westbound I-90 to stadium area off-ramps
    • Stadium area on-ramps to eastbound I-90 and I-5


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I-5 reopens after overturned tanker truck blocked freeway all day