Tanker overturns on I-84, spills hot asphalt

Tanker overturns on I-84, spills hot asphalt »Play Video

NEAR TROUTDALE, Ore. - An overturned tanker on Interstate 84 spilled hot paving asphalt on the highway and closed the eastbound lanes for several hours near Troutdale on Wednesday, creating both danger and disappointment for drivers.

State police said the tanker was heading east on I-84 to deliver about 67,000 pounds of hot paving asphalt to Selah, Wash.  Just before 6 a.m., the tanker struck a concrete barrier along the freeway shoulder on a bridge over McCord Creek, near milepost 38.

The tanker then flipped over, spilling tar across the highway and into McCord Creek. 

ODOT crews spent the day cleaning approximately 3,500 gallons of the asphalt from the freeway.

For drivers, the hot paving asphalt made the road hazardous to drive because it is sticky and clumps easily.

While ODOT and the Emergency Services Hazmat Team cleaned up the mess, I-84 east remained closed. Drivers were stopped at the popular Flying J Truckstop and many had to completely change their plans for the day.

"It's going to screw everything up because if we have to go [Highway] 14, it'll really mess things up," said a frustrated motorist. "But what do you do?"

The tanker driver, Serafin Lara, 54, was not injured.

ODOT is assessing the environmental impact of the leak. Lara's company, Granite Northwest, Inc., is also assisting ODOT with coordinating cleanup efforts.

State police are still investigating the crash.