Hazmat spill closes section of major highway running through Columbia, officials say

Traffic on Interstate 20 looked like a parking lot following a collision and hazmat spill.
Traffic on Interstate 20 looked like a parking lot following a collision and hazmat spill. SCDOT Screen Grab

A section of a major highway running through Columbia looked more like a parking lot following a crash and spill during the Wednesday evening commute.

All eastbound lanes of Interstate 20 were blocked following a collision that occurred just before 6 p.m., the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) tweeted.

In all, there were three collisions in a two-mile span of I-20, with secondary collisions resulting from the first wreck, Lance Cpl. Matt Southern said in an interview with The State.

Just after 6 p.m., SCDOT cameras showed traffic at a standstill after a crash one mile east of Exit 65.

One lane was reopened around 6:30 p.m., but drivers were still moving slowly, as cameras showed traffic backed up for several miles on I-20, which also affected people driving on Interstate 26.

Injuries caused by the wreck were reported by the South Carolina Department of Public Safety.

Two people were taken to an area hospital with minor injuries, Southern said to The State.

Part of the the issue caused by a crash was a spill of hazardous materials, SCDOT tweeted. That was identified as chlorine from a truck likely used by a swimming pool cleaning business, according to Southern.

Information on the number of vehicles involved in the multiple crashes was not available.

There was no word on how long it will take to clean the spill, or completely reopen all lanes on I-20 eastbound.

This is a developing story, check back for updates.

Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State and McClatchy Carolinas Regional Team. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.