Local News

Tanker Spill Closes I-95 Near I-40 Exchange

Posted April 12, 1998

— Traffic along Interstate-95 in Johnston County was brought to a virtual standstill Monday afternoon when a tanker truck overturned, spilling gasoline on the highway near Benson. Traffic was detoured to U.S. Highway 30l, which became an instant parking lot filled with diverted vehicles.

Not only did it become a nightmare for motorists, but for local residents as well. Many said they had no idea what was going on. All they knew was that an unusually heavy traffic flow was moving very slowly past their houses on 301. Bumper-to-bumper vehicles were moving at a rate of 2 to 3 mph at 5 p.m. Vehicles were being detoured off the interstate at exit 79 northbound and 87 southbound.

It was about 1 p.m. Monday when the tanker turned onto its side, spilling thousands of gallons of gasoline. I-95 was shut down from Smithfield to Benson as crews worked to offload the gasoline that remained in the truck's tanks into another truck. Only when that was done, authorities said they could begin to clear the road of debris and right the overturned tanker.

Workers said they expected the interstate to reopen by 8 p.m. Monday.

At one point, according to authorities, it appeared some of the spillage would threaten nearby surface water, but it was quickly taken care of.

The driver of the tanker suffered only minor injuries.


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