Update: Southbound I-5 could remain closed “for several days,” according to a transportation official at a Tuesday press conference.
Southbound Interstate 5 in DuPont remained closed for the Tuesday morning commute — and possibly longer — following Monday’s deadly train derailment, with officials warning drivers to expect lengthy delays on all alternate routes.
“Please be patient on commute south. No detour is equipped for I5 volumes,” a Washington State Patrol spokesperson tweeted.
One recommended detour from Tacoma was Route 16 west to Route 3 south toward Shelton to U.S. 101 south toward Olympia to I-5. Another was to use Route 512 east to Route 7 south.
Washington State Department of Transportation reported heavy traffic on Route 507 as drivers tried to make their way around the scene. By 10:30 a.m., there was a 14-mile backup on southbound Route 507 going into Yelm, and the Route 16 detour was considered the faster route.
On northbound I-5, traffic moved slowly at Mounts Roads. WSDOT warned drivers not to be distracted by activity at the rail overpass.
Joint Base Lewis-McChord tweeted the Mounts Road gate was closed Tuesday morning for inbound traffic to JBLM and that drivers should use other gates. There was a detour from I-5 onto Center Drive through JBLM for local traffic only.
Intercity Transit canceled some service Monday and Tuesday, including some early-morning routes to and from Tacoma on Tuesday. Riders were encouraged to check www.intercitytransit.com for service updates throughout the day.
KING-5 reports crews worked through the night to start removing train cars from the highway and rail overpass. Once the cars were removed, they would assess the roadway to make sure it is safe.
According to WSDOT, about 60,000 drivers use that area of southbound I-5 each day.