By Jim Shilander

Northbound Interstate 5 was at a near standstill for hours Thursday afternoon near the Avenida Pico off-ramp after a large crane fell across the freeway.

The driver of the crane left the roadway and traveled on to the right shoulder, then veered back across traffic, hitting the concrete divider on the left side, which turned the vehicle over onto its side, 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. The crane 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 move the crane upright, along with several heavy duty haulers and support personnel. The freeway was reopened more than 12 hours later at 4 a.m.

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