A tractor-trailer hauling crushed cars spilled part of its load onto Interstate 295 in Portland on Friday morning, bringing northbound traffic almost to a standstill until it was cleared at 8:45 a.m.

A Lambert Auto and Truck Recyclers tractor-trailer loaded with 15 crushed cars bound for a Topsham recycling plant was heading north at 7:30 a.m. when a cable holding the scrap onto the truck broke, spilling three of the cars onto Tukey’s Bridge, said Maine State Police Trooper Doug Cropper.

The cars and debris covered the two right lanes of I-295 near the Washington Avenue exit but the two main travel lanes remained open, Cropper said.

Still, traffic backed up for miles and a four-car crash at mile 5 northbound was blamed on drivers not slowing down enough for the conditions.

The Rochester, New Hampshire, trucking company and the driver, Jason Fisher, 30, also of Rochester, were each issued a summons for having a defective load securement system, which carries a $310 fine if they are convicted.

Stewart’s Towing loaded each of the crushed cars onto a flatbed and removed them. The truck with its remaining cars was escorted to Exit 10, where it was parked at the Falmouth Shopping Center so its load could be resecured, Cropper said.

The driver delivered the rest of his load to the Topsham facility.

Lambert’s operates eight trucks and has a rating of satisfactory from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, according to the administration database. The database shows just one crash in the past two years, although it does not indicate who was at fault. Nobody was injured.

The firm has had an above-average number of vehicles taken out of service following inspections.

In the past two years, the company’s vehicles were inspected 12 times, and problems, typically mechanical, caused the trucks to be pulled out of service five times. The percentage of times Lambert’s trucks were placed out of service following an inspection was 41.7 percent compared to a national average of 20.7, according to the agency’s website. The site does not identify the violations.

In 15 driver inspections, none led to trucks being placed out of service.