NORTH SALT LAKE — The Utah Highway Patrol said it will cite two drivers of a semitrailer that toppled on I-15, triggering a monster traffic jam through northern Salt Lake and southern Davis counties last week.

UHP trooper Cameron Roden said that the front and rear drivers of the massive tractor-trailer will be cited for improper lane travel and for logbook violations.

"They were going too fast for the roadway they were on," he said. "The load got shifting back and forth, and over it went."

The spill of a 110-foot-long, 281,000-pound vessel on July 29 caused a traffic jam that lasted nearly nine hours. Interstate 15 was shut down near Center Street while cranes and crews moved the vessel. The accident happened just before the start of the afternoon commute into Davis County, turning the already packed drive into a traffic nightmare.

Investigating the crash, the UHP said it could not find any mechanical problems with the rig. Intermountain Rigging and HeavyHaul, which owns the semi and was transporting the load to a gas facility in Wyoming, said its safety records on the vehicles were clean.

"We have GPS units on all our trucks. We know how fast they were going on our route and so forth," said CEO Steve Knight. "All of the objective data does not show driver error."

Knight said the company was conducting its own investigation of the crash. The vessel was being transported by both a front and rear semi and was within regulations to be on I-15 at the time. UDOT prohibits such vehicles beginning at 3:30 p.m.

While he knows many commuters were upset with them about the traffic jam, Knight is grateful it wasn't any worse.

"When you're in our business, you think constantly about what would happen if everything went wrong," he said. "The worst didn't happen here. That's if you injure people or kill people."


E-mail: bwinslow@desnews.com