Because of a series of mishaps, traffic was limited to one lane in both directions on Camino del Rio at Ninth Street on Wednesday, but it was expected to return to normal this morning, officials said.
A truck and trailer clipped a traffic light at the intersection Wednesday morning, causing havoc during the morning commute.
Starting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, a temporary configuration signal at Ninth Street and Camino del Rio was turned off and flaggers directed traffic through the night, according to a news release Wednesday afternoon from the Colorado Department of Transportation.
Ninth Street east of the intersection was narrowed to one lane. Ninth Street west of Camino del Rio was closed to Roosa Avenue, and will remain closed through the week.
Morning commuters sat bumper-to-bumper Wednesday as construction near the DoubleTree Hotel intersection created a domino effect leading to a gas leak, accident and road closure.
At 8:15 a.m., construction workers hit a gas line at the northeast corner of Camino del Rio and College Drive, according to a news release from CDOT. A mini-excavator operator unintentionally ruptured a three-quarter-inch line.
Not long after, a truck hauling a trailer clipped the traffic light at Ninth Street and Camino del Rio, tearing out the concrete base and disrupting the signal, according to a CDOT news release.
That caused traffic to shut down and created massive traffic jams in several directions during the morning commute.
Lt. Ray Shupe, spokesman with the Durango Police Department, referred to the snarl as “an incident within an incident.”
When the gas leak occurred, authorities arrived to redirect traffic, Shupe said, so they were on the spot when the truck and trailer hit the traffic light. The truck didn’t have enough room to make the turn, he said.
“The traffic light controls that entire intersection,” he said.
“CDOT will need to dig a new hole, pour concrete and allow it to set up before the signal can be restored to its full functioning state,” CDOT said in a news release.
College Drive and Camino del Rio reopened shortly before 10 a.m. after the gas line was temporarily repaired, said Sherri Dugdale, spokeswoman for the city of Durango.
Traffic was restored by 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at College Drive and Camino del Rio.
La Plata Electric Association shut off power lines as a precaution to ensure that no fire would be sparked as a result of the gas line damage.