Why Traffic Between Missoula and Lolo Was Stopped For So Long
Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - Thursday was a brutal day to be driving between Missoula and Lolo on Highway 93 South with a semi crash just before 9:00 a.m. that delayed and even halted traffic for more than 10 hours.
KGVO News spoke to Montana Highway Patrol Public Information Officer Jay Nelson early Friday morning for details on just what happened and why traffic on the busy highway was slowed down and even stopped for several hours.
The Nearly 10 Hour Delay was due to a Semi Truck Rollover carrying Decorative Stone
“We had a one-vehicle rollover involving a semi-truck that had a large flatbed and it was completely full of decorative stone,” began Sergeant Nelson. “So it was a very heavy load and this decorative stone was on the flatbed. The driver failed to negotiate the curve just four miles north of Lolo and subsequently went across both of the southbound lanes completely blocking those lanes, and I'll be quite honest, this individual was cited for careless driving.”
A Concrete Barrier was Knocked into the Oncoming Lane of Traffic
Nelson said the rollover crash blocked three of the four lanes of traffic, even dislodging a concrete barrier in the roadway.
“At one point in the early stages of this motor vehicle crash we had three of the four lanes blocked which as you know between Lolo and Missoula can cause one heck of a traffic problem in 20 minutes let alone 10 plus hours,” he said.
With so much of the semi-load of rock blocking both directions of travel, Nelson said it was necessary to block the entire roadway for an extended period.
Cleanup Forced all Four Lanes of Traffic to be Closed for a Time
“Once they started to roll that semi over and then started to pick up all this load I know it inconvenienced quite a few people, but safety is paramount not only for the wrecker operators, but for everybody involved, so they had to close back both lanes for southbound traffic and really work as quick as they could, but it was a long day.”
Nelson further described the cleanup process.
“The cleanup was extensive as you could imagine having a load that big tip over on a roadway, the wrecker operators did everything they could to get the traffic flowing as quickly as they could, but even they were stuck getting to the scene. They had to come out of Missoula, so it was a long drawn-out process.”
According to Nelson, no injuries were reported in this incident.