On the morning of December 18, 2017, Amtrak train 501 derailed near DuPont, Washington, causing railcars and one locomotive to fall onto Interstate 5 (I-5), hitting several passenger cars and shutting down the freeway. I-5 southbound was ultimately blocked for 57 hours, an impressive accomplishment considering the necessity of surveying the incident for the investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the process of removing a 270,000 pound locomotive, and the need for inspections and repairs before the area was cleared to open. Approximately 65,000 vehicles per day had to be diverted on this southbound route and forced onto local roads and highways.
While the use of drones to speed up the investigation played a large role in the quick clearance (see case study), as did the pre-staging of maintenance crews, much of the success of the clearance, the efficient detours, and the overall management of the incident was due to corridor wide planning efforts that had been undertaken via the I-5/Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) Corridor Joint Operations Working Group.
Operations Area of Practice
- Business Processes/Policies and Procedures
- Interagency Agreements / Cooperation / MOUs
- Emergency Transportation Operations
- Traffic Incident Management
- Emergency Planning
Organizational Capability Element
- Local government/MPO/RTPA cooperation
- Public safety agency collaboration