I-80 tunnel blocked by crashes Friday
At least 13 injured
by Wyoming Department of Transportation
March 25, 2005
At least 13 people were injured in a series of motor vehicle crashes in the Green River tunnels on Interstate 80 earlier today (Friday). The crashes blocked both tunnels, forcing the closure of I-80, with traffic being detoured through the town of Green River.
The chain of crashes began shortly before 1 p.m. when a passenger vehicle spun out of control in the eastbound tunnel, located just west of milepost 90. A second passenger vehicle then hit the first car, initiating a string of collisions ultimately involving four passenger
cars and trucks and four tractor-trailer units.
A few minutes later, another series of crashes involving an additional six cars and trucks occurred in the westbound tunnel.
The severity and total number of injuries remains unconfirmed, as some persons who might have suffered only superficial injuries may not have been transported to Sweetwater County Memorial Hospital in Rock Springs.
Both crashes resulted in the roadway being blocked, and traffic began stacking up in long lines behind the crash scenes. I-80 was closed and authorities began routing vehicles off the Interstate at exits 89 and 91 and directing them onto Flaming Gorge Way, the old highway through Green River.
Emergency workers were able to clear the wreckage in the westbound lanes and reopen the tunnel shortly after 3:30 p.m. However, the wreckage in the eastbound tunnel required more time to remove, and as of 6 p.m., the driver of one truck was still trapped in the wreckage as
extrication work continued. The work was made more difficult due to the confines of the tunnel, which won't accommodate the use of a lifting device such as a crane.
As many as two dozen personnel responded to the crash scene, including Highway Patrol troopers, highway maintainers, police and sheriff officers, and fire department and ambulance crew members.