No one was injured when a semitractor-trailer crashed into a guard rail Friday afternoon at the Nisqually River Bridge on Interstate 5, but northbound traffic was affected all afternoon, according to the Washington State Patrol.
The crash occurred about 12:20 p.m., closing the two right lanes. The truck was removed about 3 p.m., but one lane remained closed for cleanup until just before 4 p.m.
At that point, the backup from the bridge extended about 10 miles through Olympia, and surface streets in Lacey were clogged as drivers sought other routes. The state Department of Transportation estimated traveling from Olympia to Tacoma was taking 71 minutes instead of the normal 29 minutes.
Trooper Guy Gill said the complicated crash scene caused the extended closure.
The driver reported that he crashed after suffering a coughing attack, Gill said. He drove into a guardrail and then into a large, concrete structure at the base of the bridge. No other vehicles were involved.
The driver was transported to the hospital as a precautionary measure.
An estimated 100 gallons of diesel fuel spilled from saddle tanks on the sides of the truck, said Chase Gallagher, a state Department of Ecology spokesman. The diesel flowed into a drain and affected surrounding soil, but he said there was no indication that the diesel made it into the river.
Costco Wholesale, the company that owns the truck, is paying for a contractor to clean up the spill, Gallagher said.