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SB I-5 fully open in Pierce County for first morning commute since train derailed

Three people were killed Dec. 20, 2017, in DuPont, Wash. when an Amtrak train derailed along a new route. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
LISTEN: State Patrol update on I-5 reopening and train derailment

All lanes of southbound I-5 near DuPont have reopened after Monday’s train derailment that killed three people and injured dozens more.

Transportation officials opened two lanes of southbound I-5 shortly before 5 p.m. on Wednesday and a third lane around 9:30 p.m.

Photos: Crews begin removing train cars from I-5

Initially, WSDOT was skeptical that the freeway would open so quickly. However, crews were able to complete work ahead of schedule. That included repairing the right lane that was damaged when an Amtrak locomotive fell onto the freeway.

Updates leading up to complete reopening

  • The locomotive left a “gouge” in the roadway, but it only extended to the shoulder. That issue was an easier fix than if it was in the middle of the freeway.
  • A guardrail needed to be replaced once dirt was removed. Other guardrails at the scene were also repaired.
  • Bridge repairs are still needed to fix “minor damage,” according to Captain Dan Hall with the Washington State Patrol.
  • The 270,000-pound locomotive was hoisted onto a semi-trailer and relocated to Joint Base Lewis-McChord. It was hauled north around 9 a.m. in the southbound lanes of I-5 to DuPont-Steilacoom Road. WSDOT had to take down signage and traffic lights to fully remove the locomotive.
  • Rail cars are being transported to Joint Base Lewis-McChord for the investigation into the derailment.

Report: At least 3 killed when train derails in Pierce County

If another closure is needed

There are no indications that further closures are necessary. Here’s a list of detours just in case.

Route 1:
Exit I-5 at Hwy 512 in Lakewood
Take Hwy 7 to Hwy 507 through Roy and Yelm
Backtrack on Hwy 510 from Yelm to Lacey or continue on Hwy 507 through Tenino and Sunnydale and rejoin I-5 at Grand Mound.

Route 2:
Exit I-5 at Hwy 7 in Tacoma
Exit to Hwy 512 in Lakewood (see above for more) or stay on Hwy 7 until Hwy 702.
Exit to Hwy 702 towards Hwy 512 Yelm.
Backtrack on Hwy 510 from Yelm to Lacey or continue on Hwy 507 through Tenino and Sunnydale and rejoin I-5 at Grand Mound.

Route 3:
Exit I-5 at Hwy 16 through Gig Harbor
Exit to Hwy 302 in Purdy (Not recommended for semi-truck drivers)
Exit to Hwy 3 and head south towards Shelton
Exit to Hwy 101 towards Olympia where you’ll rejoin I-5

Get the latest traffic information

The Washington State Department of Transportation says more than 60,000 vehicles travel this stretch of southbound I-5 each day and most of the alternates can’t handle that many cars trying to detour.

More photos from the scene

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