Highway 64 Reopened After Accident, Ammonia Spill

Posted November 1, 2007
Updated November 2, 2007

— U.S. Highway 64 east of Siler City was reopened Friday evening after an accident and chemical leak forced officials to close it for more than 24 hours.

Residents who had been evacuated from six homes got permission to return home by 7 p.m. Friday. Authorities had evacuated them as a safety precaution Thursday night.

All lanes of U.S. 64 – the major east-west corridor through Chatham County – were closed between Arthur Teague and Silk Hope roads after an accident involving a gas truck and tractor-trailer caused a leak of anhydrous ammonia Thursday afternoon.

County and regional hazardous-materials teams took until Friday evening to contain and clean up the leak and to unload ammonia remaining on the gas truck. The accident occurred in a mostly rural area of Chatham County.

A tractor-trailer driver was traveling west on U.S. 64 around 3:30 p.m. Thursday when his vehicle got a flat tire, state troopers said. He pulled off to the side the road near Silk Hope Road, but half of the tractor-trailer remained on the road.

A gas truck traveling in the same direction hit the tractor-trailer, putting a hole in the gas truck's gas cap. County officials confirmed that the gas truck then began to leak ammonia.

The driver of the gas truck suffered minor injuries, troopers said. The tractor-trailer driver had got out of his vehicle before the accident and was uninjured.

Troopers said they must inspect the vehicles and finish their investigation before they make a decision on filing any charges.


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  • superdad412 Nov 2, 2007

    To: “contex”

    HAHAHAHAHA… So you have some tire tracks through your “barnyard”? What a fitting ending for you. I suppose you think all those responders (particularly the volunteers who took off from work) had nothing better to do today.

    You should move to New Orleans so you can gather with your own “flock” of mental midgets who blame the government for their woes.

    You may “think” you’re an expert in dealing with anhydrous ammonia after a few tractor rides on your granddaddy’s farm, but there is one thing granddaddy didn’t teach you. “Tis better to be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

  • allie1 Nov 2, 2007

    Contex: is this the liquefied gas?? Have you referenced the Emergency Response Guidebook used by all Emergency Responders in such situations? If so, you see that the liquified gas is Toxic and fatal if inhaled. Ruptured cylinders may explode, etc...believe Emergency responders, we don't want to be standing on the road in the cold any more than you want to be inconvenienced in your home. Heaven forbid that a toxic cloud form over someone's home and the response had not been adequate...then everyone would be yelling about not enough being done...right?

  • contex Nov 2, 2007

    It is beyond me what could possibly take this long to reopen 64, other than the fact NCDOT seems to be in (lack of) control. Anhydrous ammonia is used by farmers for fertilizing soil, my Grandfather used it to fertilize the land he farmed and I was in the tractor when it was applied many times. To my knowledge highways are not shut down nor people evacuated from their homes when farmers use this fertilizer on their land. It was obviously a small amount that leaked from this tank, otherwise we'd have seen a mass evacuation not 6 homes.I live on Arthur Teague Rd. which is the detour around this Chicken Little type catastrophe. There were 2 wrecks in front of my house this morning. One driver took out some of my landscaping at end of my driveway.
    This is a truly pathetic response by local and state authorities.

  • ladyblue Nov 2, 2007

    Try highway 70 between smithfield# 95 and garner highway 40. Gee suicide road should be called....I hear where they about got this place cleaned up now...

  • gordonbabe Nov 2, 2007

    But I'm telling you... I live on Arthur Teague Road... if you aren't familiar with these two roads... STOP SPEEDING. Arthur Teague abruptly ends when it meets Silk Hope Road. People are flying up and down these roads. I'm surprised that no one has wrecked yet on these detours.

  • jailorjoe1978 Nov 2, 2007

    I agree with you 100%. the troopers need to camp out on 64 more often or increase their numbers. Its starting to get as bad as US-1

  • irishale Nov 2, 2007

    correction to the detour instructions from Siler City: Silk Hope Road does NOT dead end at Arthur Teague Road. Silk Hope Road continues for about 15 miles past Arthur Teaque Road, actually dead-ending eventually on highway 87 in Alamance county.
    That being said, I live on 64 near the accident scene, and people treat 64 like it's an interstate. It's quite dangerous when people drive at the speeds they do, with residents and small side roads throughout. As bad as this accident was, I'm surprised that it wasn't far worse. Pulling in/out of my driveway can be Russian Roulette during rush hour.