Two lanes of northbound I-5 north of Centralia have reopened as crews continue to clean up used motor oil from a tank truck that struck a guardrail and rolled Wednesday morning.
The driver was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, according to Washington State Patrol.
The tanker was headed north on I-5 before it went off the roadway to its right, struck a guardrail, crossed all three lanes to its left, rolled, and came to a rest blocking the left lane, according to a State Patrol press memo. No other vehicles were involved and no one was injured.
Trooper Will Finn tweeted at about 7:30 a.m. Wednesday the tanker’s leak stopped after spilling 1,800 gallons of used motor oil. Finn wrote that approximately three miles of freeway needed to be cleaned at that point.
“Motorists traveled through the spill before the roadway was closed, spreading oil up I5,” the tweet read.
The Washington state Department of Ecology is leading the clean-up of the spill.
Ty Keltner, communications manager for prevention, preparedness and response at the department, said sand has been spread on the roadway to contain the spilled oil. The department is contracting with National Response Corporation for the clean-up, and Keltner said the timeline for its conclusion is unclear.
“We want to make sure that the area’s safe,” Keltner said. “Safety of the responders in place and the safety of any folks on the roadway is paramount.”
When asked whether Independence Day celebrations with fireworks coming on Thursday are of concern, Keltner wasn’t sure.
“I don’t really have a good answer for that,” Keltner said. “We don’t have oil that’s flowing off-site or anything. So, I hope everything will be cleaned sufficiently by some point today (Wednesday).”
The Washington state Department of Transportation’s Tacoma Traffic account tweeted that all lanes likely will not reopen until early Thursday morning. The department is advising drivers to avoid the area.