Crews reopen Willamette Highway after recovering semi

The highway was shut down for four hours Tuesday while crews completed the work.

Posted: Dec 4, 2019 4:25 AM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Highway 58 reopened Tuesday afternoon after crews closed several miles outside Oakridge to recover a semi truck that crashed down an embankment last week. 

Four tow trucks helped pull the semi truck from the embankment at milepost 53 east of Oakridge around 9 a.m. 

The semi truck landed in the embankment last Monday when the driver lost control in snowy conditions.

The occupants escaped the crash with only minor injuries, according to Oregon State Police.

The highway was shut down for four hours Tuesday while crews completed the work.

ODOT Spokesperson Angela Beers Seydel said crews had to wait until now for better weather and to work out logistics. Beers Seydel said a project of this complexity is unusual. 

"We don't usually have situations that are this difficult to work on. We're fortunate that these folks know what they're doing. They know how to work together to get this done," Beers Seydel said. 

The closure left a line of cars and semis waiting for hours to get through.

With the road closed, Arizona resident Shirley Collins found herself stuck on the way back home. 

"Nothing else you can do. So, we just let the dogs out and let them walk around and stretch their legs and wait for the road to open," Collins said. 

Traffic will be limited to one lane Wednesday near milepost 53 as crews work to reinstall about 100 feet of guardrail that was damaged during the crash. 

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