Southbound Lanes Of I-5 In Dupont Area To Remain Closed For Wed.
Update: All Lanes Of SB I-5 At Mounts Road Open After 10 pm Wed.
December 20, 2017
Work crews clearing the train derailment site Tuesday night. Photo: YouTube
Update Wed. 10:15 pm. The Washington State Dept. of Transportation says that as of 9:48 pm Wednesday evening all lanes of Southbound Interstate 5 at Mounts Road (milepost 116) have reopened.
Crews were able to complete work activities that required a right lane closure ahead of schedule. The Mounts Road on-ramp to SB I-5 has also reopened. WSDOT says there are "No remaining closures following the Monday train derailment."
Original story below
(DUPONT, WA.) -- The Washington State Dept. of Transportation (WSDOT) said Tuesday evening that the Southbound lanes of Interstate 5 in the DuPont area will remain closed through the Wednesday morning commute as crews continue their work clearing the wreckage from Monday's fatal Amtrak train derailment.
Drivers are encouraged to avoid the area if they can.
Operations to remove the remaining rail cars on and adjacent to the southbound lanes of Interstate 5 continued through the night and crews made substantial progress in clearing the site, according to a WSDOT statement.
"Most of the derailed train cars have been loaded onto semis to be hauled away and securely stored. Bridge engineers also inspected the rail bridge and deemed it structurally sound, with only minor repairs needed for safely reopening the interstate," said the WSDOT statement.
Remaining work includes relocating the cranes to position them to remove the train's locomotive, which Tuesday remained on the southbound I-5 lanes. Crews also need to remove a hazard tree.
WSDOT maintenance crews have pre-staged supplies, equipment and staff, and plan to begin repairs on guardrail and damaged portions of the highway as soon as they are cleared to do so.
Southbound I-5 detour
The primary detour is SR 16 to SR 3, which is what commercial vehicles should use. WSDOT personnel have been seeing significant congestion on SR 507 and SR 7, and do not recommend travelers take SR 302.
A local-traffic-only detour is set up on Center Drive through JBLM to Nisqually and connecting to I-5. Drivers can expect heavy traffic on any alternate route and WSDOT is encouraging people to only travel through the area if needed.
Amtrak CEO apologizes for fatal train derailment
Amtrak's co-CEO has apologized for the fatal high-speed train derailment Monday in Washington state that killed three people and injured 100, according to a report by CNN.
"It's not acceptable that we are involved in these kinds of accidents. We are terribly sorry to the people that are involved," Richard Anderson said.
The train, on it maiden high-speed run from Seattle to Olympia derailed Monday after speeding around a curve at almost three times the speed limit.
The train was traveling about 80 mph in a 30-mph zone and it is still not clear why that happened, said National Transportation Safety Board member Bella Dinh-Zarr.
In addition, a technology called PTC or Positive Train Control that can automatically slow down a speeding train, was not in use. That segment of the tracks in DuPont, Washington, had centralized traffic control (CTC), according to Dinh-Zarr who said, "The locomotive was in the process of getting a system of PTC installed but it was not yet functional."
All of the crew members remain hospitalized. NTSB investigators are setting up interviews with them. "As they are able, we will get more information from them," said Dinh-Zarr on Tuesday.
She also said the train's emergency brake appeared to have been automatically activated, rather than by the engineer during the accident.