Big delays on southbound I-17

A tractor-trailer rolled on Interstate 17 south of Sunset Point this morning, spilling debris across the southbound lanes and blocking traffic for most of the day.

The wreck occurred approximately two miles north of Black Canyon City.

Naomi DeHoag, a dispatcher at the Department of Public Safety's Flagstaff office, said officers hope to have the accident cleared before 5 p.m.

But as of 5 p.m., motorists who had been waiting for about two and a half hours (to get past the wreck) finally made it past the accident scene, and said it appeared that the scene would still cause delays into the evening.

DeHoag said officers were able to keep one lane of traffic open throughout the morning and early afternoon, but traffic had backed up as far north as five miles north of the wreck (near Bumble Bee).

"People have been coming up here (to Flagstaff) for the snow and then going back down to Phoenix," she said, noting that weekend traffic volume tends to increase this time of year. The northbound lanes of I-17 are unaffected by the wreck.

The tractor-trailer was carrying a load of crushed cars, which spilled onto the roadway. The rig also smashed the interstate's middle retaining wall, reducing it to rubble that further blocked traffic.

The driver of the rig received injuries, but DeHoag was unable to comment on their severity. She did say that an ambulance went to the scene.

According to the Arizona Department of Transportation's Freeway Management System Web site, the delays are affecting a five-mile stretch approximately 1.3 miles south of the Bumble Bee exit, near mile post 247. Click on Link #1 at the bottom of this page to go to ADOT's Web site.