At around noon yesterday (June 8), there was a massive chain reaction crash on I-30 Westbound, near Friendship, Arkansas. Friendship is about 45 minutes southwest of Little Rock along I-30. Eleven vehicles were burned after the collisions, eight were tractor-trailers. Multiple major and minor injuries have been reported, and unfortunately three people died because of the crashes. No reports of hazardous material freight have been released.
The cause of the accident has yet to be determined, but wet roads from area thunderstorms might have been a factor. Also, roads in that area are under construction, with widening projects and bridge repairs causing lane narrowing. Exceeding the speed limit is also a factor to consider since the speed limit is lower than drivers would like to observe. Most of that area is posted 45 to 55 miles per hour because of the work zones.
Yesterday afternoon, Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) workers were in the crash area passing out water and snacks. The westbound lanes were, and still are as of this writing, completely blocked. Traffic is being diverted off exits 99 and 91 at Butterfield onto U.S. 67 to reenter I-30 at Exit 78 in Caddo Valley. Vehicles that were able to turn around were evacuated from the interstate.
Traffic is slowly moving the morning after the incident
The area between Exit 91 and 78 is closed as investigators work the scene, rescue crews clear the destroyed vehicles and freight, and road repair crews work to reshape the damaged road. Road crews are focusing on the inside lane and shoulder first, then will reopen those to traffic while they work the outer lane and its shoulder area. They will have to “mill and fill” the areas where fire damaged the road.
Traffic cameras from ARDOT’s IDriveArkansas.com show slow movement as far back as Little Rock this morning (June 9). Many tractor-trailers have been stuck on the road for as long as 16 hours so far because they are not able to exit the interstate. “Camping out” on the side of the interstate after an incident like this is something many drivers do not plan for.
Making sure you have at least a couple days worth of food and water, especially during the summer and winter months, is something not taught by truck driving training schools. Also a go-bag incase you have to abandon your truck is also something that you should consider. Sometimes, in cases of chain reaction crashes, rescue personnel cannot reach the fire in time and it spreads to other vehicles.