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Accident on Interstate 81 bridge snarls traffic for hours

Eight vehicles, including a tractor trailer and two box trucks, collided in a chain-reaction crash

August 18, 2011|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com
  • A tractor trailer was involved in an eight-vehicle chain-reaction crash on the Interstate 81 bridge over the Potomac River between West Virginia and Maryland.
By Chris Tilley, Staff Photographer

WILLIAMSPORT — Traffic was snarled for hours late Thursday afternoon when eight vehicles, including a tractor trailer and two box trucks, collided in a chain-reaction crash on the Interstate 81 bridge over the Potomac River between West Virginia and Maryland, Maryland State Police said.

The other vehicles involved were believed to be passenger vehicles, according to Trooper Dusty Pittman.

No one was injured in the crash, Pittman said. Those involved in the accident were directed to the Williamsport Volunteer Fire and Emergency Medical Services Inc., where they exchanged insurance information, he said.

"They just got lucky," Pittman said.

State police Thursday night were still trying to determine how the chain-reaction crash started in the northbound lane, but said they believe slow-moving traffic might have been a factor.

The northbound lanes of the interstate were shut down for about 1 1/2 hours following the 5:25 p.m. crash, Pittman said. Traffic was diverted to U.S. 11 on the Maryland and West Virginia sides, slowing traffic in the region, officials said.

The southbound lanes were never closed after the crash, Pittman said.

Maryland state highway officials were also called to the scene to check the bridge for any damage, Pittman said.

"There was broken pieces of metal from the railing but that's about all we were able to observe," Pittman said.

Besides state police, Halfway ambulance, and Williamsport fire and ambulance responded to the scene, according to aWashington County 911 supervisor.

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