Interstate 95 is closed in both directions in the Laurel area after officials said a tanker truck carrying diesel fuel overturned across southbound lanes. (AP)
Updated at 9:15 p.m.
Maryland State Police said Tuesday night that they had charged a Laurel man with failure to control speed to avoid a collision and reckless driving contributing to the collision, among other charges. He was identified as Christopher W. Rhodes, 23. He refused medical treatment at the scene, according to a statement from the state police.
Updated at 6:47 p.m.
All lanes of Interstate 95 are now open after an overturned tanker spilled about 1,100 gallons of biodiesel fuel on the road, closing all and then part of the highway for more than eight hours.
The Metropolitan Area Transportation Operations Coordination Program said on Twitter that the southbound side of the road, which was closed much longer, was delayed for about three miles but is starting to become less clogged.
Updated at 4:18 p.m.
With the northbound lanes open again and two out of four southbound lanes reopened, Maryland Department of the Environment spokesman Jay Apperson said that the large biodiesel fuel spill would likely have no major adverse environmental effects.
Apperson said that Prince George’s County Fire Department officials worked quickly to put down absorbent cloth on the road, stopping the fuel from entering storm drains, where it could have polluted the water system.
About 400 gallons were collected in drums and the rest of the spilled fuel was being soaked up with absorbent materials by contractors hired by the trucking company which was carrying the fuel, Apperson said.
Updated at 3:38 p.m.
Maryland State Police said on Twitter that two southbound lanes have reopened, meaning traffic is now moving, if slowly, on both sides of Interstate 95.
Updated at 2:28 p.m.
The tractor-trailer that overturned on Interstate 95 in Prince George’s County has been righted, and authorities are working to get southbound traffic running again.
The northbound lanes have already reopened.
Assistant Fire Chief Paul Gomez said the tanker was carrying 7,500 gallons of biodiesel fuel when it was involved in a four-vehicle accident that sent one woman to a hospital with minor injuries. About 1,100 gallons spilled onto the road. The remaining fuel inside the truck was pumped into a different truck, and emergency responders were then able to right the fallen tanker, Gomez said.
He said that of the fuel that spilled, about 400 gallons has been collected in drums. The remaining 700 gallons will be cleaned up by the Maryland Department of the Environment and the trucking company, Gomez said.
He said the road is designed to slope so that rainwater runs toward the shoulder, so most of the fuel is on the shoulder, not the main roadway. Emergency responders put down absorbent cloths to stop the fuel from entering storm drains.
Gomez said that unlike gasoline, biodiesel is extremely unlikely to ignite, especially in cool weather. It probably also poses much less of an environmental hazard than spilled gasoline, but that depends on the specific additives used by the fuel’s manufacturer, which Gomez said the fire department does not yet know.
He said it is likely to take at least another hour until the 10 to 15 emergency vehicles currently on the scene can get the tanker moving and start opening up southbound lanes.
Updated at 1:22 p.m.
The northbound lanes of Interstate 95 near Beltsville have reopened, after an accident that caused a tanker truck to spill about 1,000 gallons of biodiesel fuel onto the road. The southbound lanes are still closed, the Maryland State Highway Administration tweeted.
Updated at 12:45 p.m.
Officials with the Maryland State Highway Administration said delays on the southbound side of Interstate 95 near Beltsville where a tanker truck overturned and spilled about 1,000 gallons of biodiesel fuel on the road are slowly starting to ease.
The interstate is shut down in both directions, and it is not clear exactly when it will reopen.
The tanker crashed on its side about 10:30 a.m. on the southbound side of Interstate 95, south of MD 198. It was not immediately clear what caused the tanker to crash, authorities said.
The overturned tanker on I-95 (Prince George’s County Fire Department)
Around noon, Maryland highway officials said it is likely that the northbound side of the interstate will reopen first.
The traffic delays were starting to ease. On the southbound side of the interstate, traffic was backed up for three miles. Shortly after the incident, traffic was backed up for about eight miles, officials said.
Drivers are advised to avoid the area, and authorities are diverting traffic to Route 29, US 1 or the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.
A second tanker truck had arrived and was working to offload fuel from the overturned truck.
Crews work to clean up 1,000 gallons of bio diesel fuel that spilled from tanker on I-95. (Courtesy of Prince George’s County Fire Department)
For drivers who are on the Capital Beltway, “don’t come up I-95 at all,” said David Buck, a spokesman with the Maryland SHA.
Buck said highway crews were “turning traffic around at MD 198 one at a time.” He said “there were people stuck between the diversion point and the accident itself.”
Updated at 11:44 a.m.
Interstate 95 is likely to be shut down in some parts for several hours after a tanker spilled about 1,000 gallons of bio diesel fuel on the highway near Beltsville, officials said.
The 7,500-gallon tanker truck crashed on its side. Crews were working to contain and clean up the spill. The driver of the truck is said to be okay, officials said. Two people suffered minor injuries in the incident.
Traffic is backed up for at least three miles and the interstate is shut down.
Drivers are advised to avoid the area.
The view of the overturned tanker and clean up wasn’t pretty –
Updated at 11:23 a.m.
Authorities said minor injuries were reported after 1,000 gallons of bio-diesel fuel leaked onto Interstate 95 near Route 200 in Beltsville. Crews were working to contain the spill, according to the Prince George’s County Fire department.
In a press release, officials from the Maryland State Highway Administration said state and local police and the Maryland Department of Environment, along with other agencies are responding to the incident.
Southbound traffic on the I-95 is being diverted to MD-198. On the northbound side of the interstate, traffic is being diverted to Md 212. Traffic along I-95 is backed up about eight miles.
Authorities suggest drivers avoid the area and take US 29, MD 295 and US 1 as alternate routes.
Updated at 11:03 a.m.
Authorities said the cleanup is starting after an overturned tanker truck spilled fuel on Interstate 95 near Route 200 in Beltsville. In a Twitter message, Mark Brady, a spokesman for the Prince George’s County Fire Department, said that the leak had been stopped and the cleanup was beginning.
Original post at 10:46 a.m. Authorities said an overturned tanker truck on Interstate 95 south at Route 200 near Beltsville is causing part of the roadway in that area to be closed. It is not immediately clear what caused the crash and it was not known how long the delays would last. Hazmat units have been requested to respond to the area. Highway officials said just before 11 a.m. that all north- and southbound lanes of I-95 in that area are blocked. Traffic is being diverted to MD-198.
In a Twitter message, highway officials said there were multiple vehicles involved and that there were injuries. There were no details on those who were injured. MATOC — the Metropolitan Area Transportation Operations Coordination program — said all southbound lanes were blocked because of the tractor-trailer and two of the northbound lanes on Interstate 95 were also blocked. The delays, the agency said, extended nearly two miles.
Prince George’s County officials said in a Twitter message that it was a biodiesel tanker that overturned.