Southbound I-5 lanes reopen at site of deadly Washington train d - KPTV - FOX 12

Southbound I-5 lanes reopen at site of deadly Washington train derailment

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Image: KPTV Image: KPTV
Image: KPTV Image: KPTV

All southbound lanes of Interstate 5 reopened Wednesday at the site of a deadly train derailment in DuPont.

The Washington Department of Transportation announced two lanes had reopened by 5 p.m. Crews were able to reopen the far right lane just before 9:30 p.m. 

A WSDOT spokesman said drivers are advised to use caution and the speed limit will be reduced to 45 mph while workers remain in the area.

The WSDOT spokesman said there is no damage to the concrete roadway, but they still need to examine the shoulder area once more debris is cleared from the scene.

Detours will remain in place overnight. 

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said Wednesday that Richard Anderson, president and co-CEO of Amtrak, had committed to pay for the costs of the derailment, including all medical and incidental expenses incurred by those injured and their families, as well as the cleaning and repair of the roadway and the restoration of passenger rail service.

Earlier Wednesday, the Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the third person killed in Monday’s train derailment as 40-year-old Benjamin Christian Gran. The other two victims were identified Tuesday as Jim Hamre and Zack Willhoite, who were friends and members of the Rail Passengers Association.

MORE: Train derailment victims remembered as railroad advocates

More than 70 people were hospitalized as a result of the derailment, including some with serious injuries.

By Wednesday morning all passenger cars from the train had been removed from the highway. It took a little longer to haul out the 270,000-pound locomotive, but WSP reported the locomotive had been removed and reached its destination for further investigation by Wednesday afternoon.

The debris at the scene is “extensive,” according to a Washington State Department of Transportation spokeswoman, and crews continue finding more as they go along. Several trees will also need to be removed from the area.  

WSDOT reported just how much effort was going into clearing the scene. On Wednesday, there were two sweepers, two articulated cranes, five dump trucks, two excavators and 25 crew members working at the crash site, along with additional crews on 24-hour shifts providing additional traffic control on detour routes.

The National Transportation Safety Board released information Tuesday about the preliminary investigation into the derailment, including the train going 80 mph in a 30-mph zone prior to the derailment, a conductor familiarizing himself with the route in the locomotive with the engineer at the time of the derailment and Positive Train Control not yet installed on the train.

MORE: NTSB derailment investigation details

Every crew member on the train was hospitalized, but they will be interviewed by NTSB investigators once they are medically cleared.

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