Second overturned tractor trailer in a week on I-40 in Roane Cou

Second overturned tractor trailer in a week on I-40 in Roane County, safety review ordered

Posted:
An overturned tractor trailer shuts down the eastbound lanes of I-40 in Roane County. An overturned tractor trailer shuts down the eastbound lanes of I-40 in Roane County.
An overturned tractor trailer shuts down the eastbound lanes of I-40 in Roane County. An overturned tractor trailer shuts down the eastbound lanes of I-40 in Roane County.
By DREW GARDNER
6 News Reporter

ROCKWOOD (WATE) - For the second time in less than a week, traffic was backed up for hours on I-40 in Roane County Monday morning after a crash involving two tractor trailers shut down all eastbound lanes.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation says a safety review of the roadway has now been ordered.

The section of roadway in question is on Rockwood Mountain at mile marker 341 just before the Harriman exit.

The crash was reported around 2:19 a.m. Monday morning in the eastbound lanes, causing one of the trucks to overturn. One lane reopened around 7:20 a.m., but the roadway wasn't completely cleared until around 1 p.m.

Randy Hardin was one of the first semi-truck drivers to pull up on the accident.

"It looked like one of them had just laid over and when he went across the road the other one just T-boned him," said Hardin.

Hardin says at first it was hard to tell how badly the driver and passenger of that semi were injured.

"You couldn't see," said Hardin. "They were still pinned in the trucks."

They were ultimately transported to the hospital with only minor injuries. The driver of the tractor trailer that flipped escaped without any injuries.  His passenger had minor cuts to his face and legs.

Several boxes and merchandise were tossed all across the interstate only adding to the cleanup and causing a major back-up.

Nick Thomcheck says he sat in his cab for more than five hours while crews worked to clear the wreck.

"It's frustrating when you have rules and regulations on your logs you know," said Thomcheck. "You just have to sit there that's all."

He was one of several dozen trucks that were unable to turn around and forced to wait.

"I've got two grocery stores I need to deliver to so their groceries are late," added Hardin. "So they'll be late getting out on the shelves. One things just leads to another one."

Almost the same thing happened last week at this exact same spot.

Previous story: Overturned tractor trailer snarls traffic on I-40 in Roane County

We asked TDOT officials if anything was being done to investigate whether this was just a strange coincidence or if something else may be causing these wrecks.

TDOT says they initiated a safety review of this location last week. The review included performing a crash analysis. They are now pursuing federal safety funds for the project.

In the meantime, the Regional Traffic Office is currently reviewing all signs and markings in preparation for improvements.

A date has not been set for the project, however, TDOT says it is being expedited.

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