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Westbound Bay Bridge traffic snarled after two tractor trailers collide

Highway and Road DisastersTransportation DisastersChesapeake Bay Bridge

Two tractor trailers collided on the westbound span of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge shortly after noon Wednesday, closing the span to traffic and bringing environmental officials to the scene for a fuel spill.

Hours after the crash, westbound traffic was backed up for about 3 miles as cars creeped by in the left lane, which was opened and closed multiple times as tow trucks maneuvered to free the tractor trailers from one another.

"The one was kind of wedged into the other one," said Tamory Winfield, a spokesman for the Maryland Transportation Authority. Both trucks remained upright.

The two other lanes remained closed at least four hours after the 12:18 p.m. incident, which left one of the truck drivers with non-life-threatening injuries, Winfield said.

The second of the two tractor trailers wasn't removed from the bridge until about 4:30 p.m., when officials began clearing leftover debris before reopening all lanes to traffic.

Winfield said the accident caused a fuel spill from one or both of the trucks. Officials with the Maryland Department of the Environment responded to the scene to assess the spill.

Suzzanne Kastendike, of Chestertown, said Wednesday afternoon that she was happy to be off the bridge after being stuck in the traffic from about 12:40 p.m. until after 3 p.m.

She was making the cross to get to a LensCrafters store, she said, and at first thought the congestion she hit on Kent Island was just because of construction.

"But once you were sitting more than a half an hour, you thought, 'Uh, it's more than that,'" she said.

Kastendike said she chalks it up to being in the "wrong place at the wrong time," and said she's thankful the accident wasn't deadly and that nobody stuck on the bridge with her lost their cool.

"Nobody was getting out [of their cars]. Nobody was honking their horns. Everything was pretty calm," she said. "They waited patiently."

Several minutes before the accident was reported, officials had instituted a wind restriction on the bridge because gusts there had reached between 40 mph and 49 mph. The restriction prohibits tractor trailers without heavy loads from crossing.

Winfield said after the incident that it was too early to determine whether wind played a role in the accident, or whether the two tractor trailers involved were heavily loaded with cargo.

krector@baltsun.com

twitter.com/rectorsun

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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Highway and Road DisastersTransportation DisastersChesapeake Bay Bridge
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