Two out of three northbound Interstate 75 lanes starting at the Fruitville Road interchange opened just before 5 p.m. as emergency personnel continues to clean the remnants of a large fuel spill related to an early morning fuel tanker crash.
The third northbound lane, though, will stay closed overnight as work continues to clean up the spill.
Sarasota County personnel announced late this morning the highway would be closed in that vicinity until 7 p.m. The original estimate for reopening was 1 p.m.
Emergency personnel were alerted to the overturned tanker truck at 5:42 a.m. and cleanup efforts are taking longer than expected.
The tanker, which had a fuel spill malfunction, was traveling southbound when the driver lost control of the tanker and crossed the grass median and a barricade, causing a four-vehicle accident. The incident is still being investigated and the truck driver was transported to Blake Medical Center in Bradenton. The driver of a Ford F-150 truck involved in the crash was taken to Doctors Hospital in Sarasota.
An estimated 250 to 500 gallons of fuel spilled onto the road. Hazard personnel arrived earlier this morning to place foam on the fuel to absorb the fuel. Another tanker was needed to transport remaining fuel off the highway and grass median.
All northbound traffic was diverted at the Bee Ridge Road exit and was rerouted to Honore Avenue and U.S. 41. Those roads are still heavily congested tonight because traffic is slow moving on the interstate.
Contact Kurt Schultheis at [email protected].