COLUMBIA — Two tractor-trailer trucks collided Friday morning on Interstate 70 close to the Stadium Boulevard exchange, causing a severe traffic jam that spanned about four miles and delayed drivers for as long as three hours.
At one time, traffic was backed up all the way to the U.S. 63 connector, said Steven Sapp, battalion chief of the Columbia Fire Department.
"We were there for roughly four hours," said Mike Schupp, an engineer for the Missouri Department of Transportation.
Another accident, which resulted in no injuries and occurred earlier in the day, led to the tractor-trailer collision. According to Sapp, one of the tractor-trailers, which was carrying a load of silica sand, attempted to match the tempo of the traffic flow, which had slowed because of the earlier wreck. The truck was struck from behind by the other tractor-trailer, causing the sand-carrying semitrailer to overturn.
The collision caused no injuries, but those involved in the cleanup said an immense amount of work was required to remove the overturned trailer.
"You couldn't pull it because the frame was broken in half," Schupp said.
"They had to use a cutting torch to cut the rear tandem wheels before they could put it on the wrecker," Sapp said.
After the wrecker removed the trailer, the traffic began to flow again.
"Traffic is cleared out," Schupp said. "The only thing that's left is the sand."
Schupp said most of the sand left behind was in the median, and it will be cleaned up once it dries.