The driver of a semitruck that crashed and burst into flames on the southbound express lanes of Interstate 5 early Friday morning has been cited for negligent driving, according to the Washington State Patrol.
Witnesses reported that the driver was speeding and driving erratically on the road, which was wet from rain that fell just before the crash, said State Patrol spokesman Trooper Rick Johnson. The semi hit the concrete barrier on the left, then slide across five lanes to hit the other barrier before catching fire near Mercer Street around 5:30 a.m.
No one was seriously injured. The driver, a 32-year-old man, was taken to the hospital as a precaution, Johnson said. He was cited with second-degree negligent driving, a $553 infraction, he said.
The fire was put out by 6 a.m., but the express lanes were shut down for the rest of the morning commute as crews cleared the scene, with traffic diverted onto Mercer Street.
During the closure, travel times from Snohomish County to Seattle grew to more than half an hour longer than average. It took about 70 minutes to get from Lynnwood to Seattle, according to the Washington State Department of Transportatio (WSDOT).
The express lanes reopened around 11 a.m., with reversal to the northbound direction pushed back until noon. Prior to reopening, tow trucks had to haul off the semi, and WSDOT crews cleaned the roadway and checked for structural damage. No bridge-structure damage was found, but a guardrail was damaged and some signs on the overpass above the fire were melted.
Commuters also experienced slowdowns Friday morning from a crash involving a King County Metro bus, which blocked two southbound lanes of Aurora Avenue North at Dexter Way North.
For the latest traffic information, visit seattletimes.com/traffic.