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City leaders pleased with response after truck full of crab tips over, halting traffic on Alaskan Way Viaduct

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SEATTLE -- A tractor-trailer full of frozen Alaskan king crab legs crashed and tipped over on the Alaskan Way Viaduct, shutting down a part of the highway for hours and spilling boxes of the seafood onto the street below.

No one was injured.

It’s not a scene drivers see every day.

Seattle Police say the truck driver traveling north on State Route 99  lost control and tipped his trailer on its side around 2:30 p.m., damaging a guardrail and taking out a light pole.

“The impact caused the tractor-trailer to split open on its side, spilling boxes of crab onto the viaduct deck and immediately below,” said Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole.

By the height of rush hour, all lanes were closed and it would be a couple of hours before they opened again. Around this time last year, Seattle officials dealt with a similar scene when a truck carrying a load of fish flipped in the southbound lanes and closed traffic for nine hours.

“Last year, consultants found that Seattle lacked a comprehensive plan,” said  O’Toole during a press conference held with SDOT Monday night.

She and SDOT’s director, Scott Kubly, said they felt their response improved from last time. “Now all of us city officials understand to prioritize traffic flow before property interest,” said O’Toole.

While the response may have improved, drivers say it’s a long ways from perfect.

SDOT says the viaduct is safe for drivers and structurally sound.

It’s still unclear how much crab was lost, but a pound of crab can be pretty pricey -- anywhere from $13 to $30 a pound.

Here's a time-lapse video of crews righting the truck and towing it away.


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