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12-mile back-up on Highway 99

Truck crash partially blocks freeway for 9 hours

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12-mile back-up on Highway 99

Caltrans employees and motorists assess a big rig collision with a Saturn that closed the northbound lanes of Highway 99 Thursday morning backing up commute traffic as far south as Salida.

GIL POMALES/The Bulletin


POSTED May 10, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Highway 99 traffic was backed up for nearly nine hours Thursday from a big rig that rolled on its side blocking all northbound lanes shortly before 7 a.m.

One lane was opened about an hour later but it wasn’t until 3:30 p.m. that the  crash site was cleared. At one point, traffic was backed up in a standstill all the way back to Pelendale Avenue for some 12 miles.

A ladder that fell from a northbound construction worker’s pickup truck onto northbound Highway 99 shortly before 7 a.m. Thursday causing the driver of a Saturn sedan to swerve and cut off a big rig that rolled onto its side, blocking the entire roadway from the center divider to the fence at the right shoulder.

Firefighters confirmed that there was one injury in the crash, but they couldn’t confirm whether it was the driver of the car or the big rig that was transported to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Traffic backed up from the scene of the crash that occurred midway between Yosemite Avenue and the Highway 120 Bypass interchange, in the northbound lanes to beyond Pelandale Avenue in Modesto.  Motorists were exiting the freeway at Jack Tone and Austin roads in an effort to detour around the crash site. They were finding others doing the same and clogging those arterials as well as they drove up Jack Tone Road to Graves to Austin Road reaching Yosemite Avenue.  Others remained stalled in the stopped freeway traffic.

The westbound Highway 120 traffic was also affected with much of the traffic flow trying to use the interchange to drive onto northbound Highway 99.  Within an hour there was another crash on South Manteca Road where a motorist sheared off a utility pole with the driver being transported to an area hospital.

PG&E crews closed off the roadway most of the day between Tannehill Drive on the north and Veritas on the south cutting off the access to the rural farm areas to the south.  Detours used both Union Road and Airport Way to reach those areas as PG&E worked to replace the pole.

By 9 a.m. Caltrans crews had their sweepers at the scene of the truck collision, cleaning up the debris from the mishap.  The cargo on the truck consisted of cases of clear unused wine bottles.  The Saturn reportedly received major front end damage in the freeway collision.

Tow trucks pulled the cargo loaded big rig to the side early in the day that kept one freeway lane closed to traffic that funneled through the remaining lane.  Motorists continued to move slowly throughout the day as they attempted to crawl toward Stockton and points north.

The CHP reported another crash Thursday just as the truck wreck was cleared south of Ripon on Hammett Road where a vehicle reportedly went off the Highway 99 freeway overpass.

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