I-81 Reopened After Morning Crash

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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.

Get the latest traffic information on our Traffic Tracker page.


  • Andrew

    Its not always a truckers fault. We always cut off and noond realizes the mess it can cause. We dont syop to quick agressive steering to miss a car because we were cut off can cause this. So sick of everyone saying its the drivers fault

  • Holly

    Trucks have a high center of gravity without a load and with a load its even greater for them turning over he or she was probably traveling to fast and forgot the obvious dangers of trucking. I bet he/she wont do that again they need to take a full refresher course thank god no one was hurt!!

    • Randy

      Rick, I differ about your comment, there are several million truckers out there, and a lot of good people transporting goods for everybody, I feel the problem is the way there paid, 30 cents a mile adds speed, paid by the load adds speed, paid by the hour adds cost, Swift trucking up there trucks speed and reduced accidents nationwide, Trucks are out there to shape up our economy, I under stand you don’t operate a big truck or you would not comment this way, Driving has a lot of responsibility, Safety is one of the biggest concerns of all truck drivers. So try to have a little respect for there job, I know you would if you were in there shoes.

    • Steve

      Well rick, maybe you should spend a day in our shoes, “truckers” that is!!I’ve been driving truck for 16 years, and every year people become more impatient, driving faster, driving more recklessly, they cut us off, they pull in front of us and brake check us, pass us in construction zones, that solid white line means you stay in your lane just so you know. We pull heavy loads, and can’t accelerate or stop as fast as a car can, and actually trucks stop even worse when empty!! So if you think you can do it better come on out and give it a try, I challange anybody without a CDL to get the licence and deal with what we deal with on a daily basis!! Hurry up PA!!! Hurry!! Hurry!!!

  • Concerned

    Anyone know, who the contracted Dump Truck belongs to? I know someone who has trucks who was to be working in the area this week.

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