SEATTLE — All lanes of the West Seattle Bridge were closed after a dump truck crashed through a Jersey barrier.
It happened at about 8:20 a.m. Tuesday in the westbound lanes near Delridge Way Southwest.
"When officers arrived they observed that the dump truck’s entire front end–both wheels and axles–had broken off and were resting in the two eastbound lanes closest to the median," police said.
The Seattle Department of Transportation closed all lanes in both directions between Fauntleroy Way Southwest and I-5 shortly after 9 a.m.
The I-5 off-ramps to the bridge were also closed for a time.
Around 2 p.m., the bridge reopened to traffic.
Police said the driver of the truck sustained minor injuries and was transported to the hospital. No other injuries were reported, according to police.
Watch video of the damage from Chopper 7 below.
Many people are asking whether taxpayers are getting their money's worth with a traffic czar earning nearly $200,000 dollars a year.
Even West Seattle drivers who managed to avoid this traffic mess heard about it. This commuter says he got around by leaving for work two and a half hours earlier.
"I've lived out here for nearly 20 years. So I've gotten caught in them more than once. I just leave early now," said Rob Hower.
KIRO 7 Traffic Reporter Tracy Taylor heard on Twitter from those who weren't so fortunate.
"I was late and then gave up 30 minutes in and went home," wrote Joey Jones, just as he says fights were breaking out. Another driver said it took 40 minutes to drive from Delridge to California Avenue.
"It was a dump truck that was impacted," said SDOT chief Sam Zimbabwe. He said there was a mix of factors that made clearing the bridge difficult.
"You know certainly the bridge is not that accessible," he said. "So there aren't as many ways to get people around that. So it starts to have a bigger impact on the morning commute."
Last January, the mayor brought on retired Air Force General Mike Worden as a kind of traffic guru. He was supposed to help more quickly clean up these messes and get traffic moving.
But questions are being raised about whether Worden is earning his salary.
"The salary is worthy of a high profile position," said Seattle Councilmember Mike O'Brien, at a recent meeting. "And as chair of the transportation department it has been extremely low profile. Not to say that work isn't happening. But I am not aware of any of the work."
Zimbabwe insists Worden is on the job.
"General Worden has been very helpful in helping us work together as agencies," said Zimbabwe, "and we're coordinated in our response."
Zimbabwe was asked if General Worden was helping out today. He said he wasn't need. As bad as traffic was for everybody who was stuck in it today, he says, it wasn't the worst they've seen.
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