18-Wheeler Crashes into Wind River Canyon
A tractor-trailer truck left the road and slid into the Wind River Canyon Thursday night, and the efforts to clean up the mess and remove the truck will slow down traffic for awhile.
Here is the official account of the incident from the Wyoming Department of Transportation...
Motorists traveling U.S. 20/Wyoming 789 through Wind River Canyon Friday and possibly Saturday should expect stop delays of up to an hour as officials work to remove debris from a Thursday evening crash involving a semi-truck.
"The crash happened around 11 p.m. last night in an area called 'Big Windy' inside Wind River Canyon," said Russ Dowdy, Wyoming Department of Transportation maintenance foreman in Thermopolis. "It's my understanding the driver of the truck is OK. The truck was hauling bulk sugar."
Most of the crashed semi-truck didn't crash into the Wind River, but it is overturned on the steep embankment above the river about 10 miles south of Thermopolis at milepost 121.8.
"There was no damage to the roadway, but 400-500 feet of guardrail has been destroyed. Currently, we've got one-ton pickup trucks with digital message boards located at each of Wind River Canyon, warning motorists of one-hour stop delays while the truck is being towed from the river," Dowdy said.
The Wyoming Highway Patrol is on scene. No details of the investigation have been released.
It was snowing Thursday night inside Wind River Canyon, and at the time of the crash, WYDOT had one plow truck working inside the canyon. The road was slick. WYDOT was notified of the crash at 11:22 p.m.
A company under contract with WYDOT to repair guardrail has been notified, Dowdy said, and repairs may begin as early as Sunday depending on the truck towing operation.
Until the guardrail repairs are completed, temporary reduced speed limits of 45 mph and 30 mph will be in effect, according to WYDOT Traffic Engineer Randy Merritt of Basin.
"Once repairs are complete, the speed limit will return to 65 mph," Merritt said.
"Please slow down through the area, and please drive for the winter conditions inside the canyon," Merritt said. "Please be patient as the truck is being towed from the river bank, and also while repairs are under way. Safety is WYDOT's No. 1 priority. Please slow down."