AUGUSTA — Both northbound lanes of Interstate 95 through the city re-opened Wednesday evening after one or both lanes were closed for more than 24 hours as crews dealt with the aftermath of a crashed, garbage-laden tractor-trailer.

Traffic on the highway had been snarled since Tuesday afternoon, when a Troiano Waste Services truck, driven by 42-year-old Matthew Blackburn, of Portland, crashed into the guardrail off the right side of the road. Blackburn was not injured in the crash.

On Wednesday, the truck was removed from the road and crews cleaned up a large load of garbage that spilled over the embankment on a section of highway between the Western Avenue and Civic Center Drive exits. The road was opened to both lanes of traffic by 5:45 p.m., according to Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland.

Removing the truck — which fetched up on the guardrail — and the overturned trailer proved a challenge, said Ted Talbot, spokesman for the Maine Department of Transportation. The process ultimately required officials to close both northbound lanes for a little over an hour. Crews initially did not anticipate having to close the road.

“To get it upright, they had to position it properly, and they didn’t have enough width from one lane to do that properly,” Talbot said.

Crews erected signs at mile 108, about a mile south of the Western Avenue overpass, to warn motorists of the closure, Talbot said, but a long line of drivers still wound up at a standstill. Officials had urged drivers to avoid the section of road by taking the Western Avenue exit and using Leighton Road to head north before getting back on the interstate.

“They did their best to let the traffic through during the closure, but it did get backed up,” Talbot said.

A large section of guardrail had been removed by mid-morning Wednesday. Heavy equipment, including large tow trucks and a bulldozer, had started the work of dragging the overturned trailer out of the ditch and pulling the tractor-trailer off the guardrail. At times, traffic was backed up for more than a mile.

The crash site was about a mile north of the Western Avenue overpass. Traffic was merged to one lane just before the crash scene and remained confined to one lane for a little more than a half mile to a point just beyond the Bond Brook bridge. McCausland said the state transportation department also is repairing damage to the bridge caused last week when another tractor-trailer crashed.

Talbot, noting that many vehicles safely navigate the section of road every day, said there is nothing so far that suggests the road is a problem for big rigs.

“It appears to be driver behavior at this point,” Talbot said.

He said state transportation officials are vigilant about examining crashes and considering ways to prevent future crashes. He said the department will follow that same protocol in the two most recent crashes.

“We’ll look at everything,” he said. “That doesn’t mean it’s actionable.”

Staff writer Michael Shepherd contributed to this story.

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