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Asphalt tanker wreck causes mess, no injuries

POSTED: May 6, 2008 5:00 a.m.

A worker surrounds an asphalt spill with Oil Dri to contain the spill on White Sulphur Road on Thursday morning.

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What a mess.

About 3,000 gallons of black, sticky, liquid asphalt oozed out over a sizable stretch of Ga. 365 at White Sulphur Road on Thursday morning after an asphalt tanker truck tipped over, creating traffic tie-ups along the route that lasted most of the day.

The ensuing cleanup required using a milling machine to grind down and dispose of the excess asphalt that settled and hardened on the road in uneven, molten piles, Georgia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Teri Pope said.

"Once we got rid of the extra asphalt it was all right," Pope said. "It is hard to clean up when it hardens, so any amount would have been difficult."

All lanes were reopened by 5:30 p.m., about eight hours after the spill.

Pope said the liquid asphalt was in a "tar-like" state when it spilled from the overturned tanker truck about 9:30 a.m.

Hall County Fire Services spokesman Scott Cagle said the driver of the truck estimated about 3,000 gallons of the 5,000-gallon load spilled. Cagle said the asphalt did not contaminate any streams or other waterways in the area.

Cleanup crews initially spread dirt and sand over the sticky goo and methodically scraped it up with a tractor.

By noon, the truck had been uprighted, but the asphalt had begun to harden, requiring the grinding of the road.

Northbound traffic was initially diverted off Ga. 365 at Exit 24. Traffic was being allowed back on north of White Sulphur. By 3:30 p.m., the inside northbound lane had reopened.

There were no injuries in wreck, which is being investigated by the Georgia State Patrol. A state patrol operator could not provide information about the driver or the cause of the wreck Thursday. The truck was from Broner Trucking Inc. in Cornelia.


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