Tandem trailer crash backs up I-64 in Shelby County for hours

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Truck had crashed early this morning in construction zone and trailers had to be unloaded

By Steve Doyle

One lane of westbound Interstate 64 near Simpsonville was closed for nearly 11 hours Thursday after tractor-trailer pulling loaded tandem trailers crashed through a guardrail and nearly upside.

The driver, whose name had not been released, escaped uninjured when his rig left the roadway at Mild Marker 29, in the construction zone at the Bullskin Creek bridge east of Simpsonville, sometime around 4 a.m.

The removal of the truck kept the lane blocked until just after 3 p.m., when Shelby County Emergency Management Director Paul Whitman announced both lanes were flowing. State Transportation officials only an hour earlier had projected that perhaps 4 additional hours would be needed to remove the wreck.

Whitman said Shelby County officials "forced the issue" to get the road open sooner than expected.

The lane closure backed up traffic far east of Exit 35 (KY 53), and motorists who tried to escape to U.S. 60 found long backups at stop lights in Shelbyville and all the way to KY 1848 in Simpsonville.

All of that was caused by the clean-up process, which was undertaken during often heavy rains and increasingly gusty winds.

The tandem trailers came to rest on a hillside below the roadway – “He was nearly upside down; only the trees broke his fall,” Whitman said – and the entire loads had to be removed before wreckers could remove the truck and trailers from the scene.

“There was no hazardous material,” Whitman said. “And thank goodness he was almost out of fuel. So there was no fuel spill.”

No reason was cited for why the truck left the road. Whitman said he got the call at 4:30 a.m., and by then emergency workers had closed the lane.