AVOCA — It was a hectic commute to work for thousands of people in Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties after a dump truck hauling rock salt crashed in a construction zone
Interstate 81 southbound reopened around 10:30 a.m.
It took a while but traffic on I-81 seems to be back to normal. The crash happened just over the Luzerne County line.
It was a like a parking lot on Interstate 81 south between Scranton and Avoca for almost three hours Thursday morning because of the crash that happened around 7:30 a.m.
A dump truck from Ransom Quarry in Olyphant toppled over near the exit for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport just over the Luzerne County line.
PennDOT officials say the driver was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
He was hauling 15 to 20 tons of rock salt. It spilled all over the highway and the southbound lanes were shut down for about three hours, meaning the morning rush hour traffic was shut down, too.
“I was two cars behind. I just saw the truck, he was kind of swerving, up on two wheels for 5 seconds and then…he just crashed down and there was debris everywhere,” said Marley Bross of Dunmore.
The debris was rock salt — 20 tons of it — that spilled all over the southbound lanes of Interstate 81. The driver of the dump truck from Ransom Quarry in Olyphant was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
While crews cleaned up all the rock salt, drivers on the interstate sat and waited.
“Everybody’s out of their cars. Cars are everywhere. We’ve been sitting here talking to the people out of their cars around us, calling fellow coworkers who are also stuck in this traffic. It’s pretty much been a nightmare,” said Cathy Steffaroni of Factoryville.
“Oh, I have to use the ladies’ room,” laughed Barbara Halloran of Olyphant.
There were all sorts of predicaments for the folks sitting in park. Most were late for work, some by an hour or more. it Took crews almost three hours to remove the dump truck and clean up the rock salt mess.’
“This is awful. I’m just glad it’s not the winter time and we’re going to run out of gas here,” Halloran said.
It was a nightmarish morning for drivers on Interstate 81 but there were also traffic problems in Scranton, Moosic, and Avoca when hoards of drivers tried to find alternate routes.
Police are still investigating the crash. We do not know where the dump truck was traveling to, and why it was hauling rock salt in the middle of August.
Some commuters tried to avoid the backups on side roads, but didn’t fare much better.
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