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By Jim Shilander

Northbound Interstate 5 was at a near standstill for hours Thursday, Oct. 30 following an accident involving a large crane falling across the freeway near the Avenida Pico off-ramp just south of Dana Point.

The driver of the crane left the roadway and traveled onto the right shoulder, then veered back across traffic, hitting the concrete divider on the left side, which turned the vehicle over onto its side and blocking all four lanes and the center divider. The crane was being taken from a job site in San Diego County to Long Beach.

No vehicles were involved and the driver, a 51-year-old Westminster man, was unhurt. Vehicles were directed onto the right shoulder and onto San Clemente’s surface streets. Traffic backed into San Diego County as a result of the crash and subsequent delays.

California Highway Patrol said the accident was reported at 3:09 p.m. Two cranes had to be brought to the scene to upright the toppled crane, along with several heavy duty haulers and support personnel. The freeway was reopened at 4 a.m.

An alternate northern route around San Clemente and past Dana Point, Avenida La Pata, is currently being extended to San Juan Capistrano. The project is slated for completion in the fall of 2016.

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