A semi truck overturned near Topeka, Kansas, this past Monday, causing significant traffic delays before the road was reopened some hours later.
Around 4pm on Monday, the truck was southbound on US-75 near Topeka’s Gage Boulevard exit. For reasons as yet unknown, the semi overturned and fell onto its side. State highway patrol officers are still investigating the cause of the trucking accident, but are pleased to report that thankfully nobody was injured, not even the driver of the overturned tractor-trailer.
However, the accident did cause significant disruptions. Because of the way the vehicle overturned, the southbound lanes of US-75 were entirely shut down for about two and a half hours. In particular, access to the Gage Boulevard exit was closed off, and traffic backed up significantly.
The accident drew the response of multiple city and county officials, including Shawnee County sheriff’s deputies, Topeka police officers and KDOT workers, all of whom assisted at the scene of the accident.
By 4:30 p.m., traffic was being rerouted to Interstate 70’s westbound lanes, though according to reports all vehicles were moving very slowly through the area by that point. Kimberly Qualls, Northeast Kansas public affairs manager for KDOT, ultimately reported that traffic wasn’t restored to normal until shortly after 6:30 pm.
More than anything, this incident shows the indirect, ripple effect that semi truck accidents can cause to highway operations. Four departments were ultimately involved in the accident, three of them from the police services in the area. Accidents such as these take up resources and manpower, leaving other people vulnerable. This kind of response is the officers’ job, yes, but every officer focused on an accident is one less officer able to respond to a crime in progress elsewhere.
Further, consider just how long the accident took to clear up. For an accident that involved only a single vehicle and injured no one, it still took more than two hours to get traffic entirely clear and moving freely. Semi accidents are always serious affairs, and drivers must exercise caution when driving nearby.