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I-5 lanes reopen; traffic congested for hours

A flipped semi truck caused major delays in the Rogue Valley for hours Sunday.

Officials closed both northbound lanes near Talent after the truck crashed at about 10:30 a.m.

The truck’s cab came to rest on the inner shoulder, while its trailer blocked both lanes and extended onto the outer shoulder of Interstate 5.

First responders set up a detour, pushing northbound drivers off I-5 at Exit 21 near Talent. People had to divert onto Highway 99 and try to get back onto the interstate at Exit 24 near Phoenix.

However, traffic quickly overwhelmed Highway 99.

Traffic also came to a virtual standstill south of the Talent interchange on I-5. Cars were reportedly backed up to at least Exit 14 in Ashland, according to first responders on the scene.

Officials reopened one lane of northbound traffic at about 1:30 p.m., but warned drivers at that time to expect continued delays and congestion into the evening.

The Oregon Department of Transportation's TripCheck network of roadside cameras and traffic alerts showed delays near the Talent interchange continued until late evening. As of 9:45 p.m., all northbound lanes from mile marker 22 were open.

At least one additional crash was reported in the backed-up traffic, said ODOT Spokesman Gary Leaming.

Traffic also became congested in southbound lanes as drivers slowed to look at the crashed truck.

Original reports stated the truck may have been carrying produce, but Jackson County Fire District 5 said later the truck was carrying wooden chairs.

The crash happened on a straight, level stretch of road.

Firefighters said a chair fell out of the back of the truck, causing vehicles following the truck to swerve in an effort to avoid the wood in the road. The semi ended up rolling over.

This post has been updated as new details emerged.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or valdous@rosebudmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @VickieAldous.

An overturned semi blocked both lanes of northbound I-5 traffic until early afternoon Sunday. Photo courtesy KTVL.