Tanker crash shuts down I-85NB in Cherokee, Spartanburg counties


CHEROKEE Co., S.C. (WSPA) — A section of I-85 northbound between Spartanburg and Cherokee counties was shut down after a tanker, hauling a hazardous chemical, overturned early Friday morning. 

The tanker overturned near exit 87 around 6 this a.m.

According to environmental technicians on scene no chemicals leaked from the tanker.

South Carolina Highway Patrol shutdown Interstate 85 for 9 miles, from exit 83 to exit 92, for most of Friday. 

I-85 southbound reopened shortly before 9:00pm, according to Highway Patrol.

I-85 northbound remains closed as of 9:00pm.

Environmental technicians tell 7News the tanker was carrying around 9 thousand gallons of a chemical, known as toluene.

“Is it harmful to humans?” Asked 7News Reporter Stefany Bornman. 

“Yes, I mean it’s a toxic chemical.” Ryan Holcomb, an Environmental Technician for 3R, told 7News. 

According to the CDC. Toulene is a clear, colorless liquid. It’s commonly used as a solvent and to make gasoline. It and can be found in nail polish, paint and paint thinners. CDC. studies show exposure to the chemical can cause serious harm to the nervous system.

“As far as you know it hasn’t leaked?” Asked 7News Reporter Stefany Bornman. 

“As far as I know, it hasn’t,” Holcomb said. 

According to SCDOT, Highway Patrol officer closed rerouted traffic to allow HAZMAT crews plenty of room to work. 

Northbound I-85 was closed at exit 83 in Spartanburg County. Traffic was routed at exit 83 to Highway 110 to Highway 29 north to Highway 105 and back onto I-85 at mile marker 90. Southbound I-85 at exit 92 later closed for clean up operations. Drivers are being detoured to Highway 11, according to SCDOT.

Northbound lanes were closed following the wreck and troopers urged drivers to take another route. SCDOT said on social media that I-85 was closed in both directions for cleanup operations. 

“We are going to transfer it from the tanker that’s flipped over to a tanker that’s not, there’s nothing wrong with it.” Holcomb said. “Then we’ll go about flipping it over, if you started flipping it over now it could rupture and then you have 9,000 gallons sitting on the side of the interstate.”

Highway Patrol says the driver of the tanker truck has been charged with driving too fast for conditions after the truck ran off the right side of the road and overturned.

At this time we do not know the condition of the driver or if any charges will be filed.

The chemical removal was expected to take 2 to 4 hours to complete. Officials say the truck was emptied and the truck was put back upright around 8:00pm.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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