A truck carrying a full load of salmon overturned on a curve on the Alaskan Way Viaduct around 2:30 p.m in Seattle. The roadway remained closed until after 11:30 p.m. The nine hour shut down caused massive gridlock and driver frustration, leaving many asking why the clean up took so long.
Lengthy Clean-Up Time Questioned
Seattle mayor Ed Murray is unapologetic about the lengthy clean-up time, saying, “I think the decisions that were made were solid decisions”. Seattle police said that their first priority after the accident was to get the truck driver medical attention, but they had trouble getting both medical help and police officers to the site. Some officers even left their vehicles and made it to the accident site on foot. The truck driver was eventually transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Because the truck landed near a Seattle Tunnel Partners work zone, many people are wondering why it wasn’t just pulled out of the lanes of traffic. Authorities say that the fishy contents of the truck were partly to blame for the lengthy clean-up time. The tons of frozen salmon shifted during the accident, so the Seattle police say that simply pulling the trailer out of the way would have torn it apart, creating a mess that would have taken even longer to clean up. Police also said that it was important to them to make sure that no one was injured during the clean-up.
Seattle Clean-Up Crews Finally Clear Salmon Container
After the accident, two special tow trucks from Lincoln Towing were dispatched, but they also had difficulty getting to the scene. The first tow truck arrived about an hour after the accident. The second was on scene by 4 p.m. It took 3 hours for the tow truck to right the trailer. After the trailer was upright, clean up crews spotted damage that they said made it impossible to get it out of lanes of traffic. It took 2 more hours and help from a crane from Seattle Tunnel Partners to remove enough salmon to be able to move the trailer off the viaduct.
The city of Seattle did admit that the long clean-up time did highlight weaknesses in communication procedures that should be rectified to better serve the public.