ITD employees escape crash that claims truck driver
Two District 3 employees escaped serious injury Monday (Sept. 17) when a semi-truck struck the back of a directional sign truck and then the back of a broom truck that was engaged in maintenance activities on Interstate 84. Shortly after impact, however, the eastbound truck jackknifed and burst into flames, claiming the life of its driver – Valeriy Morar, 40, of Pasco, Wash.
The driver of ITD’s directional sign truck and a motorist, who pulled off westbound I-84 to help, tried unsuccessfully to rescue the driver of the semi-truck. The ensuing fireball and intense heat prevented them from reaching Morar.
Although there is no evidence the semi-truck hit the Broadway Avenue overpass, where the crash occurred, the fire scorched the bridge and resulted in significant heat-related damage to the concrete.
Eastbound lanes were closed for about 14 hours – from 11:30 p.m. Monday until 1:45 p.m. Tuesday while wreckage was removed and inspectors checked the structure for damage.
ITD's bridge team approved the reopening of Broadway Avenue to southbound traffic on Wednesday but limited commercial trucks to 9,000 pounds per axle. Because of continued use by trucks that exceeded the weight limit, ITD closed the southbound lanes to all commercial trucks Friday (Sept. 21).
Plans are under way to expedite repairs to the overpass and restore traffic as quickly as possible.