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Brian Nicholson, Deseret News
Rescue workers look over the mess Tuesday caused by the rollover of a 110-foot long tank that toppled off of two semi-trucks that overturned on I-15 in North Salt Lake

A semitrailer truck crash in North Salt Lake completely shut down northbound I-15 for several hours, wreaking havoc on the Tuesday evening commute.

Late into the night, traffic was backed up for miles after an oversized load tipped as the semitrailer truck merged from I-215 onto I-15 near Center Street around 2:30 p.m., said Utah Highway Patrol trooper Cameron Roden.

Two lanes of traffic had been reopened by 6 p.m. Officials expected to open the highway completely by 11 p.m.

A crane had to be used to clear the road and move the massive object, which Roden described as "a vessel of some kind."

"It's empty, but it's 110 feet long and about 210,000 pounds," he said.

The 18-wheel semitrailer was merging onto I-15 when the back end started to sway and tipped over, Roden said. The driver suffered minor injuries and was taken to Lakeview Hospital in Bountiful.

Meanwhile, traffic came to a stop for several hours.

Drivers were encouraged to seek alternate routes, including U.S. 89 and Redwood Road. Nearly 1,000 people were on the platform of Salt Lake's FrontRunner stop around 6 p.m., said Utah Transit Authority spokeswoman Carrie Bohnsack-Ware.

"It's very, very crowded," she said. "We've never had to deal with something like this before."

The Utah Department of Transportation said the crash couldn't come at a worse time. The afternoon commute is typically clogged going into Davis County. On Tuesday, it was a nightmare of frustrated drivers trying to merge.

While road signs were activated, a common complaint in the already construction-beleaguered I-15 corridor is that there is not enough notice to merge into open lanes. UDOT spokesman Adan Carrillo said Tuesday that they try to provide ample notice. Overhead signs were activated to warn of delays from the crash.

"A lot of it is common sense, really," he said. "If people don't merge until the last minute we can't help it."

The UHP said its troopers are often too busy dealing with the crash itself to provide traffic direction.

"The only thing we can encourage is for people to plan ahead and be prepared if they see a construction zone," Roden said.

Contributing: Aaron Falk

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