Gasoline truck update: ‘Immediate danger is gone’

Shelter-in-place lifted, but interstate remains closed near bridge until later today

COVINGTON, Ky. – Emergency authorities this morning lifted the CodeRed shelter-in-place alert that was issued late last night after a tractor trailer carrying gasoline flipped just south of the Brent Spence Bridge and began gushing fuel across Interstate 71-75 and streets below.

But the interstate remains closed in both directions – as do several City streets near the bridge's overpasses – as crews continue cleaning up the mess. However, authorities said they hoped to be able to reopen the interstate as early as early this afternoon.

“The immediate danger is now gone,” said Covington Fire Department Battalion Chief Joe Bowman. “We’re just in the cleanup stage.”

The accident happened about 11 p.m. Saturday night when the loaded semi traveling south rolled onto its side and slid across the highway just after crossing the bridge.

Bowman said the truck was carrying about 8,000 gallons of gasoline, and about 500 gallons gushed out of the trailer onto the road surface, with much of it falling to the streets below.

Covington and Cincinnati fire crews quickly responded, as did other local and regional First Responders and officials from transportation and environmental agencies. As Kenton County Emergency Management issued the CodeRed alert for the area within a half mile of the accident, crews blocked off the area; contained the spill with booms, sand, and absorbent material; and called in a company to drain the remaining fuel from the truck. 

By this morning, the truck had been drained and pulled upright, Bowman said. Crews continue to scrub the scene, spreading sand, flushing the area, and scooping up the sand.

“We hope to reopen the interstate to traffic three to four hours from now,” Bowman said about 9 a.m. this morning, “but that’s just an estimate.”

Overnight, northbound traffic was being rerouted onto I-275 in Erlanger. Due to a number of tractor trailers and other vehicles overwhelming the historic Roebling Suspension Bridge, that bridge was also temporarily closed, given its low 11-ton weight limit.

Authorities said last night that the driver had been taken to the hospital with minor injuries. It wasn’t known how the accident occurred.

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