UPDATED: I-5 south remains closed south of Albany following new crashes

Update: As of 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, southbound I-5 remained closed south of Albany from the intersection with State Highway 34 to milepost 211, the Oregon Department of Transportation said. “Traffic is being detoured from southbound I-5 to OR 99E at OR 34, the Corvallis exit (milepost 228),” the department said.

One lane of southbound I-5 was open starting at milepost 231.

Original story below:

Interstate 5 south is closed near the exit to State Highway 228 Wednesday morning due to multiple crashes, and is expected to remain closed most of the day.

At least one person was killed in the crashes, said Cpt. Stephanie Bigman, Oregon State Police spokeswoman. OSP estimates there were 15 to 20 commercial motor vehicles involved, and 45 passenger vehicles, according to an 11:30 a.m. press release.

Officials have closed the I-5 southbound lane completely between milepost 228 and 211, south of Albany, in response.

Around 3 p.m. Wednesday, the Oregon Department of Transportation said the southbound lanes remained completely closed due to two new multi-vehicle crashes, as well as cleanup from the earlier crashes.

The initial crashes occurred over a 1-mile stretch on the freeway, which will likely be closed all day, Bigman said in an email Wednesday.

She said a preliminary investigation found heavy fog caused the crashes.

Traffic was detoured to State Highway 99 east, ODOT wrote in a tweet Wednesday morning.

A traffic camera shows southbound I-5 at Lake Creek, south of State Highway 228 (Oregon Department of Transportation)

Many different agencies are responding to the scene, including DEQ and HAZMAT, since approximately six of the commercial vehicles are leaking fluids onto the roadway. 

“The Oregon Department of Transportation has temporarily dropped the cable barrier to detour vehicles caught in the gridlock on Interstate 5,” OSP said in the latest release. “School buses from Eugene have also arrived on the scene to assist in relocating 30-40 stranded motorists to Pioneer Villa at exit 216.”

The Oregon State Police Collision Reconstruction Unit is also on the scene.

This is a developing story.

Reporter Jordyn Brown contributed to this story.

Contact reporter Abbey McDonald: [email protected] or 503-704-0355.

JUST THE FACTS, FOR SALEM – We report on your community with care and depth, fairness and accuracy. Get local news that matters to you. Subscribe to Salem Reporter. Click I want to subscribe!

Avatar photo

Abbey McDonald joined the Salem Reporter in 2022. She previously worked as the business reporter at The Astorian, where she covered labor issues, health care and social services. A University of Oregon grad, she has also reported for the Malheur Enterprise, The News-Review and Willamette Week.