Nichole Hannahs

I-70 Semi Accident **Updated I-70 Reopens***

by Nichole Hannahs on October 26, 2011 at 3:51 am

2:15 P.M..****UPDATED ****  I-70 Westbound At Gratiot Re-Opens to Traffic ****UPDATE****


It’s unknown how much fuel spilled onto Interstate 70 Wednesday morning after a semi tractor trailer crash that closed the highway for almost 12 hours.  It is now re-opened.

The semi was hauling produce when it crashed and caught fire near Gratiot around 2a.m. After keeping one lane open for a short time to get some of the semis through, both lanes were closed, and traffic rerouted onto US 40. From there traffic was either directed on the State Route 668 or State Route 13.

The Licking County Emergency Management Agency Director said there’s always pressure to get the road reopen quickly.

"That can be hassle to the other communities," said EMA Director Jeff Walker. "Plus once you close the interstate for any period of time it takes 2-3 hours to get it flowing properly again."

The Ohio Department of Transportation was called in to assess any damage done to the bridge and Zemba Brothers worked to clean up the diesel fuel spill on the bridge. Booms were also placed into Valley Run stream in an attempt to stop the flow of diesel fuel.

Walker said often times it’s hard for semis to recover if they lose control on a bridge area.

"When you get on the bridge you got those concrete sides with you so they can really grab a hold of you and pull you down," explained Walker. "That’s kind of what happened to him."

The driver of the semi suffered only minor injuries and was transported to the hospital.  Both lanes of I-70 reopened just after 2:00 p.m. Wednesday.