A massive 21-vehicle pileup that included nine semi-trucks on Colorado’s I-70 has forced the major stretch of road to shut down. According to authorities, the ongoing winter storms were a significant factor in the wrecks.
Per reports from the Colorado State Patrol (CSP), the accident affected nine semi-trucks and 12 passenger vehicles. It took place on I-70 near the Strasburg area. Thankfully, they said authorities reported no immediate injuries.
“Semis came through here, obviously a little bit faster than they should. Lost control and started just a chain reaction of semi after semi colliding, jackknifing,” CSP Cpl. Ian Alvarado said. “Nobody’s really seriously injured which is actually a miracle.”
Officials took two truck drivers to the hospital for minor injuries.
The department later shared photos of the trucks and cars strewn about the road, which was blanketed in snow, and others showing what they called “whiteout conditions.”
After the disastrous pileup, authorities were forced to shut down the more-than-150-mile stretch of highway. The road runs from Colorado to the Kansas state line.
Authorities forced to shut down 150-mile highway following semi-truck wreck
CSP Master Trooper Cutler told outlets that a hazmat team was trying to clean up the gasoline spills. Cutler added that 50-60 other semis were parked along the interstate, waiting for officials to clear the road.
Later, officials urged drivers to use caution and expect delays as it could take until Thursday to clear the roads. The high winds and dangerous conditions are making it challenging for officials to clean up.
CSP Officer Limon said on Thursday morning that efforts to clean up the mess would resume but noted that it could be “lengthy.”
In addition, the two remaining semi-trailers at the scene had to be offloaded before officials could safely remove them from the road, the department added.
Later, the CSP’s official Twitter account posted an update that the westbound lanes were in the process of being reopened. They added they expected the eastbound lanes to reopen later Thursday.
On Thursday morning, whiteout conditions continued to blast parts of the state. At the time, the National Weather Service advised travelers to drive cautiously as several roadways were already closed due to the winter storms.
As of Wednesday, snowfall from the storm reached over nine inches at Denver International Airport, according to the NWS in Boulder.
In addition, as snow continued to dump on regions of the state, officials canceled school as road closures began popping up in the Denver area. By Wednesday evening, Denver received additional snowfall, such as in the suburb of Aurora. The city was covered with snow by Wednesday afternoon, per reports. Now, the storm is heading through the Plains and the Midwest.