UPDATE (Wednesday, Oct. 16 at 7:57 a.m. PT) — Officials reopened the middle and left lanes of southbound Interstate 5 near milepost 274 early Wednesday following a fiery crash that snarled traffic in both directions during Tuesday afternoon rush hour.
The trouble began when one semi-truck pulled over to the shoulder just north of Woodburn, and a second semi hit the first. One driver was taken to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland by air ambulance with serious injuries, though officials said the driver and passenger in the other vehicle were not injured.
Oregon State Patrol troopers and other emergency personnel closed Interstate 5 southbound as both trucks burned Tuesday afternoon, and heavy smoke that blanketed the area also brought northbound rush hour traffic to a virtual standstill.
The Oregon Department of Transportation said it will be some time before the right lane on this southbound stretch of the highway will fully reopen. Parts of the interstate sustained serious damage due to the fire and will need to be repaved. Hazmat crews will also check to see if fuel spilled during the crash caused any environmental damage.