Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Big rig wreck closes 101


Both southbound lanes of Highway 101 were closed for a short time yesterday near the Milpas Street onramp after two big rigs collided, causing one to jackknife across the highway, clogging all routes south.
California Highway Patrol officials arrived on the scene quickly, and moved the jackknifed tractor and 25-foot trailer into the fast lane, which remained closed for a half-hour.

Just as this collision was unraveling, the driver of another big rig about an eighth of a mile behind the jackknife accident, saw it coming, and moved into the fast lane where the driver apparently couldn’t stop quickly enough, and slammed into a 2009 Jaguar.
Traffic stacked up along Milpas Street and down Cabrillo Boulevard. As drivers attempted to enter the highway on the southbound Milpas onramp, many grew frustrated with the wait and turned around, driving the wrong way back towards Milpas Street.
The chaos was exacerbated by heavy construction along the highway, which has closed both shoulders along the southbound lanes and made it impossible for traffic to be diverted around the jackknifed big rig.
While the accident appeared severe, no one involved was injured and the only vehicle that needed to be towed was the jackknifed big rig.
Officer Dan Barba, a CHP spokesman, said for unknown reasons, the speed of traffic was relatively slow when the collisions occurred just before 2 p.m. But had traffic been flowing at a steady 60 mph, as he said it usually is at that hour, the situation could have been far worse.
“We dodged a pretty good bullet there,” he said. “We’re always blessed when we have no injuries.”
Barba said the truck that jackknifed, driven by a 64-year-old man from Canyon Country, did so after the driver failed to stop and crashed into the rear end of another big rig that was pulling two belly dump trailers.
After the initial collision, he said the rear truck then slammed into the center divider wall and screeched sideways, blocking both lanes.
Barba said both lanes were closed for only 10 minutes. He said investigators had not yet determined why the big rig that jackknifed collided with the other big rig.
“It couldn’t have been more perfect as far as [happening] in a construction zone with no shoulder to speak of,” Barba said. “It’s a bad day for big rigs.”

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