WSDOT: Removal of locomotive off I-5 in progress, lanes to reope - KPTV - FOX 12

WSDOT: Removal of locomotive off I-5 in progress, lanes to reopen ‘as soon as safe’

Posted: Updated:
PIERCE COUNTY, WA (KPTV) -

Washington State Department of Transportation workers will remove a remaining locomotive Wednesday on southbound Interstate 5 in DuPont, Washington, two days after a deadly Amtrak train derailment.

Amtrak Cascades 501, a train on an inaugural trip along a new route between Seattle and Portland, spilled onto I-5 Monday morning. Three people were killed and nearly 100 others were hospitalized.

The train was traveling 80 mph in a 30 mph zone before it derailed. 

At the time of the derailment, an engineer was in the cab with a conductor. That conductor was not assigned to that trip, however, and was instead familiarizing himself with the route, according to the NTSB. 

Claudia Bingham Baker, region communication manager for WSDOT, said Wednesday morning that crews have made tremendous progress cleaning up the derailment site. All of the passenger cars from Amtrak Cascades 501 have been removed.

A locomotive that remained, which weighs 270,000 pounds, was hoisted by a crane and placed on a trailer Tuesday, but the trailer needs more support and additional parts arrived Wednesday morning.  

Captain Dan Hall with Washington State Patrol said the total configuration needed to move the locomotive will be about 270 feet in length. 

The locomotive will block all lanes of I-5 when it is transported. 

Once the locomotive is removed, which was expected to be done at 9 a.m., crews will remove a hazard tree, repair any damage on the roadway and guardrail and inspect the rail bridge. As for damage, WSDOT said gauging on the pavement of the shoulder has been seen.

Bingham Baker said lanes will not fully reopen until that work is done. While there is traffic, congestion was described as not bad.

Drivers are encouraged to use detour routes, including SR 16.

There is one lane open through Joint Base Lewis-McChord, but only local traffic is asked to use it. “Local traffic” was defined by Bingham Baker as “a local resident or a local business or have business in the area, feel free to use the route.”

Bingham Baker thanked the traveling public for using detours, and said “We will start opening whatever lane we can as quickly as we can” for I-5. 

More updates from WSDOT can be found on its blog

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