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Wrecks snarl freeway traffic

A pair of accidents, each involving a tractor-trailer truck, closes freeways and complicates commute.

February 28, 2007|By Jason Wells

GLENDALE — Two big-rig trucks snarled traffic along freeways into Glendale in separate incidents Tuesday morning after they jackknifed on rain-slicked roads.

In the first incident, a big rig flipped onto its side at the northbound Golden State (5) Freeway interchange to the Ventura (134) Freeway at 5:33 a.m., spilling 80 gallons of diesel fuel onto the roadway and closing all northbound lanes for several hours, California Highway Patrol Officer Francisco Villalobos said.

Caltrans crews forced northbound traffic onto the northbound Glendale (2) Freeway for about three hours to "alleviate the congestion going through the interchange," Villalobos said.

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In the second incident, another big rig jackknifed on the eastbound Foothill (210) Freeway near the westbound Ventura (134) Freeway interchange at 5:55 a.m. compounding traffic into Glendale, authorities said.

The accident forced the closure of that interchange for almost three hours, Villalobos said.

There were no reports of injuries from either solo-vehicle accident, authorities said.

Hazardous waste crews from the Glendale Fire Department and Caltrans worked to clean the diesel fuel along the Golden State Freeway — 20 gallons of which had entered the storm drain, CHP Officer Todd Workman said.

While the exact causes of both accidents are under investigation, authorities said slick roads from an early morning rain were certainly factors.

Lane closures at both sites were opened around 9 a.m., Villalobos said.

The traffic mess followed an early morning rain storm that produced about one inch of rain throughout Glendale and La Crescenta between 1 and 5 a.m., said Bob Gregg, a rain observer for the Los Angeles County Flood Control District.

The rain totals were far more than those measured in other areas of the county, making the Glendale-Burbank area the "bulls-eye of the storm," said Eric Boldt, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service.

Downtown Los Angeles received just a few hundredths of an inch of rain, he said, while Burbank saw about .30 inches.

The valley's mountains received three to six inches of snow at as low as 5,000 feet, Boldt said.

But the rainfall totals are still fairly meager, Gregg said.

"This still puts us on line for the driest season ever," he said.

Following Tuesday's storm, total rainfall in Glendale is now at just 4.46 inches, far below the 15.20 inches usually recorded by this time during the rain season, he said.

The low totals are more worrisome since February is typically the wettest month of the year, followed by November and then March, Gregg said.

There is a slight chance of rain this afternoon, but conditions will clear into mostly sunny conditions for Thursday and on into the weekend, according to the National Weather Service.

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