Eight cars collide on Camas Slough Bridge

By Patty Hastings, Columbian breaking news reporter

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Eight cars collided on the west Camas Slough Bridge Thursday morning after an earlier construction hiccup on state Highway 14.

Workers were in the process of paving the bridge when a plant providing the hot-mix asphalt broke down around 4 a.m. Thursday, according to Abbi Russell, spokeswoman for the Washington State Department of Transportation.

The speed limit was reduced from 55 mph to 35 mph while motorists traveled a short distance over a fabric moisture barrier without the same traction as a normal road surface.

The unfinished road appeared to have been part of what caused the collision, said Trooper Stephen Robley, spokesman for the Washington State Patrol. During the collision, which occurred around 7:30 a.m., cars started sliding around on the roadway.

Although no one was seriously injured, the collision clogged commuter traffic. Witnesses reported that motorists were traveling the wrong way on the highway to go around the backup.

"When we're dealing with a collision of that magnitude and the backup, cars tend to do that on a regular basis whether it's the highway or interstate," Robley said, adding that it's illegal.

The pavement was finished early this morning, in time for rush-hour commuters.