I-75 reopens following chemical spill

An overturned tanker carrying hazardous materials shut down I-75 between Gainesville and Alachua will keep the lanes closed in both directions
An overturned tanker carrying hazardous materials shut down I-75 between Gainesville and Alachua will keep the lanes closed in both directions until a tentative re-open time of 5 p.m. Tuesday.
Courtesy of Florida Highway Patrol

Update (10:20 p.m.): The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) reported that all I-75 lanes in both directions have reopened.

Update (5:30 p.m.): FHP reported that the chemical cleanup was still ongoing as of 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. All I-75 lanes remain closed until further notice.

Update (1 p.m.): FHP reported the chemical cleanup on I-75 was ongoing as of 1 p.m. Tuesday and estimated the interstate would re-open around 5 p.m.

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FHP said the projection is dependent upon weather conditions, equipment availability and manpower. Once the cleanup is completed, crews will clear the roadway of vehicles involved in the accident.

FHP spokesman Patrick Riordan also released more details on the crash, which occurred in rainy conditions.

“At this time it appears that a vehicle, which hydroplaned, began the series of reactions and collisions,” Riordan wrote in an email update.

The collisions involved two tractor trailers, two pickup trucks, one SUV and one passenger vehicle. One of the tractor trailers overturned, spilling its load of liquid Styrene.

According to the National Institutes of Health, Styrene is a colorless, flammable liquid that has a sweet odor and is highly volatile. It is used to make plastics and rubber that go into a variety of manufactured products, from auto parts to print cartridges.

Original story:

All lanes of I-75 are shut down and may be closed for up to 12 hours, according to a Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) announcement at 7:34 a.m. Tuesday morning.

The shutdown stems from an overturned tractor-trailer and chemical spill around mile marker 391, which is just north of the I-75 exit at NW 39th Avenue.

“The chemical spill assessment and cleanup operation time may take as long as 12 hours,” FHP spokesman Patrick Riordan wrote in an email to local media. “Motorists should avoid the area until further notice.”

FHP is routing all southbound traffic off the interstate at the US Highway 441 High Springs exit, while routing all northbound traffic off the interstate at NW 39th Avenue.

Riordan said FHP was summoned to the scene just before 6 a.m. He said he was not aware of any serious injuries resulting from the accident.

As of 11 a.m., southbound traffic on I-75 was backed up to exit 404 (High Springs/Lake Butler).

Six vehicles were involved in the accident that included two tractor-trailers, two pickups, an SUV and one passenger vehicle. The incident reportedly started in the southbound lanes when one of the vehicles hydroplaned, resulting in a series of collisions.

Emergency responders transported two people to the hospital.

—With reporting from Megan V. Winslow.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated.

Traffic backed up on I-75
Photo by Megan V. Winslow Southbound traffic backed up on I-75 Tuesday morning.

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Tabetha Klein

My husband is one of the truck drivers on the south bound side helping to block traffic from the accident. So far they haven’t heard anything different than what is reported here but thought I would share the pics he sent.

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Last edited 11 months ago by Tabetha Klein
Jenny

do you know what the chemical was?

Jimmy

styrene,toxic and genotoxic

Samuel Collings

Styrene, a chemical used to make polystyrene and other plastics. It’s flammable, poisonous to breathe, and irritating to skin and eyes. That’s why the area is locked down. As hazardous chemicals go, it’s fairly bad, but not the worst by any means.

Patricia

Is freeway still shutdown ? Any detours available for semi trucks ?

Aneudy

Still close not moving forward

Tabatha walker

Is everyone in the accident ok

C.J. Gish

We updated our story, but two people were injured in the six-vehicle accident.

Janice Garry

Thank you for the reporting and update of this story that affected so many people.