COLUMBIA, SC — A tractor-trailer crash and subsequent fuel spill blocked off I-20 West just north of Columbia during Monday morning’s early rush hours but two lanes have since re-opened.
As of 9 a.m. Monday, traffic was backed up at least six miles from the Broad River Road exit in the westbound lane of I-20, said S.C. Highway Patrol trooper David Jones.
“We don’t expect things to clear until about midday,” Jones said at 9 a.m. “Traffic’s still pretty heavy.”
Three people were transported to local hospitals, but the extent of their injuries was not known, said Columbia Fire Department spokesman Brick Lewis.
Three tractor-trailers and three non-commercial vehicles were involved in the 5 a.m. crash that completely blocked traffic for more than an hour, officials said.
“Three vehicles collided first, and traffic came to a standstill, and then three tractor-trailers collided,” Jones said.
One person was trapped in a vehicle and another vehicle was leaking diesel fuel, Lewis said. That person was extricated and was one of those taken to the hospital.
The leak was stopped, but the amount of fuel that spilled was not known, Lewis said.
The spilled fuel was the major cause of the traffic delays because it had to be cleaned up, Jones said.
The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control also had a unit on the scene. Columbia Fire Department had five vehicles on the scene, including a hazardous materials clean-up crew and truck.
The S.C. Highway Patrol asks motorists to exercise caution.
Reach Monk at (803) 771-8344.