Local News

Highway 96 Remains Closed Following Gas Spill

Posted March 31, 2003

— A crash that happened Saturday continues to cause problems in Johnston County.

A tanker hauling 9,200 gallons of gasoline overturned on Highway 96, near Covered Bridge Road. At least 4,000 gallons of gas spilled, creating an environmental hazard.

Traffic is being detoured 4 miles north of N.C. 42 onto Covered Bridge Road and Strickland-Hinton Road.

A major cleanup effort took place Sunday. Crews built a basin made of dirt to catch the gasoline runoff and brought in a vacuum truck.

Jeff Lewis, of Johnston County Emergency Services, said Sunday's rain made it easier for the gasoline to travel.

"They've got to go through and get all the contaminated soil off the ground, make sure all the product is up for environmental issues," Lewis said.

There is also a nearby creek to worry about.

"We've got a creek bed down there. Right now, the guys are telling me we've got gasoline 100 yards into the woods," he said.

Officials said the road may not reopen until Wednesday. Emergency officials said they are not worried about the gas igniting, but they are keeping the road closed as a precaution.

Less than a year ago, another tanker overturned just yards away from the current spill.

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