NORTH SALT LAKE — Commercial vehicle inspectors are going over the wreckage of a tractor-trailer that crashed on I-15 here, creating a traffic catastrophe that lasted nearly nine hours.

The tractor-trailer, carrying a 210,000-pound vessel, rolled over on northbound I-15 near Center Street Tuesday afternoon. The vessel landed on the freeway, clogging the afternoon commute into Davis and Weber counties. The freeway was shut down for hours — eventually two lanes were opened — as crews brought a pair of cranes to lift the massive tank onto another semitrailer.

"We did everything we could," said Utah Department of Transportation spokesman Adan Carrillo. "I think we handled it really well."

Thousands of frustrated commuters either sat in traffic or crept along already packed alternate routes to get home.

Salt Lake police had to rescue a man frustrated by the traffic jam. Police said a 27-year-old man, upset with all the obstructions into Bountiful pulled up "Google Earth" on his cell phone and thought he found a good overland route.

Taking his Jeep off-roading, police said, the man tried to turn back and rolled the vehicle near the scene of the City Creek Canyon fire. Officers rescued the man, leaving his car in the hills.

The freeway was finally reopened around 11 p.m., the Utah Highway Patrol said. UDOT pointed to the massive traffic jam as another reason for the Legacy Parkway, which is scheduled to open in mid-September.

"That's going to be a big congestion reliever," Carillo said.

UHP commercial vehicle investigators will look at the original tractor-trailer to see if anything faulty with the vehicle contributed to the crash.

"They will be looking for violations as far as a safety inspection goes," UHP trooper Cameron Roden said Wednesday.

The UHP said the truck driver, who was hospitalized for a minor injury, reported that he had merged onto northbound I-15 from I-215 when the back end shifted and tipped over.

The UHP said the vehicle came from Intermountain Rigging and HeavyHaul, a Salt Lake company that specializes in moving large, heavy and unusual items. The vessel was headed to Wyoming, Roden said. A call to the company's CEO was not immediately returned on Wednesday.

Roden said it was likely there would be a citation issued for the crash, although it was too soon to say what investigators would charge or whom.


E-mail: bwinslow@desnews.com