At around 5:30pm, a big rig trailer struck an overhead sign. The driver of the rig said he didn't realize there was a problem until he got stuck. The cab of the rig separated from trailer, and that trailer was leaning up against the freeway sign.
Officials shut down the freeway while they worked to clear the mess. All entrance ramps on 45 from the North Loop to Airline were also shut down.
Crews removed the trailer from the steel grid around 9:15pm, but the freeay remained closed until around 12:45am when they were able to completely remove the overhead sign.
This freak accident left hundreds of drivers trapped on I-45 for hours in the hot sun. The scene caused more safety concerns as gawking drivers tried snapping cell phone photos.
"It kind of shocked me because there was nothing but smoke coming out," driver Elissa Saenz said.
As crews cleaned around the mess, one man, Edward Pineda, ran to a nearby store to grab water for stranded drivers.
"I see a lot of kids that are just dehydrated. Nobody's doing anything. So I'm just passing out water," Pineda said.
Investigators are still trying to determine if the accident was the result of a mechanical or human error. xDOT estimates it'll cost the driver's company, J Rigs, approximately $100,000. The company was issued a citation for failure to secure load.
Fortunately, there were no reports of any injuries.