All southbound lanes of the Alaskan Way Viaduct are blocked at Atlantic Street after a semi-truck overturned, according to Seattle police.

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A semitruck carrying a load of salmon overturned and blocked all southbound lanes of the Alaskan Way Viaduct on Tuesday afternoon, causing rush-hour gridlock and hourslong commutes throughout the city.

The truck crashed around 2:30 p.m. near Safeco Field, according to the Seattle Police Department, and the southbound lanes were closed until just before midnight. The driver was evaluated by Seattle Fire Department medics and taken to Harborview Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries. The cause of the crash had not been determined Tuesday night.

The blockage forced southbound motorists to exit Highway 99 at Denny Way, and the congestion soon spilled onto surface streets and all other southbound routes into the city.

Around 5 p.m., the Seattle Department of Transportation reported an hourlong travel time on Mercer Street from Elliott Avenue to Interstate 5, a distance of less than two miles. Vehicle stalls and collisions on the Aurora Bridge, West Seattle Bridge and southbound I-5 further contributed to the bumper-to-bumper mess.

The 7 p.m. kickoff scheduled for the Sounders game at CenturyLink Field was pushed to 7:23 p.m. because of traffic delays.

King County Metro buses and Sound Transit express buses were delayed for up to 90 minutes.

The semitruck was lifted back on its wheels around 7 p.m., Seattle transportation officials said. But the trailer’s contents shifted, making it too unstable to be towed, so crews detached the trailer from the truck and pull it off the roadway.

An hour later, contractors determined the trailer would need to be unloaded before it could be moved and that eventually a crane would be needed to get the trailer off the highway. By 9:30 p.m., crews had begun to unload the trailer.

The sheer weight of the fish load made cleanup challenging, police spokesman Drew Fowler said.

Fowler said he wasn’t sure if the fish were frozen or fresh when the truck overturned, but the Seattle transportation department confirmed the fish were salmon.

Seattle police will investigate whether it will issue any citations, Fowler said.

On social media, commuters updated their locations and recounted their commute times when they finally made it to their destination.

One person tweeted “90 minutes and have barely moved a mile!” and another posted “2½ hours to get from Ballard to get home on First Hill.”



Update at 4:12 p.m.: A tow truck is working to clear the Alaskan Way Viaduct, according to the Seattle Police Department. Multiple roads in downtown Seattle are gridlocked.

Update at 3:42 p.m.: The Alaskan Way Viaduct closure is causing significant traffic congestion throughout downtown Seattle.

The Washington State Department of Transportation is advising drivers to avoid southbound Highway 99. Viaduct traffic is at a standstill.

The King County Metro bus stop on westbound Columbia Street east of Second Avenue is closed. Riders should use the stop at Third Avenue north of Cherry Street, according to Metro Transit.

Update at 3:04 p.m.: Seattle Fire Department medics are taking the driver of the semi-truck to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Original post: The southbound lanes of the Alaskan Way Viaduct at South Atlantic Street are blocked by an overturned semi-truck, according to Seattle  police.

One person is being evaluated by Seattle Fire Department medics.

Motorists must exit  at Denny Way.

This post will be updated.