A recent tractor-trailer accident near Asheville forced officials to shut down Interstate 26.
Nearby residences even had to be evacuated. The accident happened in Henderson County and it left sulfuric acid all over the eastbound lanes of the interstate. According to the Citizen-Times, the accident created such severe traffic backups that the interstate was closed for much of the day.
North Carolina engineer Mark Gibbs couldn’t even say how long the cleanup was going to take.
“We want to get it open as quickly as possible because we know it’s an inconvenience for people, but first and foremost we have to determine it’s sound and safe,” said Gibbs.
Our Asheville car accident attorneys understand that traveling among big rigs, tractor-trailers, semis and 18-wheelers is a dangerous task. These vehicles are large and carry a lot of weight and power. But when these vehicles carry hazardous materials, the risks for disaster and injury skyrocket. These large vehicles already overpower our passenger vehicles, and when toxic chemicals are added into the mix everyone’s in trouble.
After the trucking accident, traffic was bumper to bumper for hours on U.S. 176 as westbound traffic was rerouted through Saluda.
It wasn’t just the roadway and the traffic that was affected by the trucking accident and the spillage of the sulfuric acid. The Interstate 26 bridge deck and joint was also damaged in the crash. Officials believe that some of the acid may have caused damage to the underside of the bridge. The truck sat in flames for about three hours, too. Transportation experts believe that the heat could have caused some structural damage, too.
Here are the details on the sulfuric acid: It’s a highly corrosive chemical that is used in a number of industries, including work with wastewater treatment and car batteries. If this chemical comes in contact with your eyes or your skin, it can result in serious burns. If you breathe in the fumes from this chemical you can wind up with some serious respiratory problems.
Because of the leak, about 100 people and 50 homes in the area had to be evacuated.
The driver of the tractor-trailer was also taken to the hospital.
A law enforcement officer was also taken to the hospital after he reported breathing difficulties.
The exact amount of how much acid leaked in the accident is unknown. According to Kelley Webb with the Asheville Fire Department, about a gallon leaked from the tanker every minute. A local hazmat team and a number of emergency response teams were called in to help clean the mess. Roughly 2,000 pounds of lime were spread over the acid to help neutralize it.
The Carolina personal injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices, P.A. represent the victims of car and trucking accidents in both North and South Carolina. Call us today to set up a free and confidential appointment if you or a loved one has been involved in an accident in Asheville or elsewhere. Call 1-800-887-1965.
Tanker wreck damages I-26 bridge southwest of Asheville, by Sabian Warren, Citizen-Times
More Blog Entries:
Risks of Trucking Accidents in Greensboro and Elsewhere Reduced with Revised HOS Rules, Hopefully, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, March 31, 2012
Serious Car Accidents in Charlotte and Nearby Areas Close Roadways, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, February 9, 2012