Part of I-84 east in Tolland reopens following chemical truck cr - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Traffic Alert

Part of I-84 east in Tolland reopens following chemical truck crash

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Crews worked to remove containers of chemicals from a tractor trailer crash in Tolland. (State police photo) Crews worked to remove containers of chemicals from a tractor trailer crash in Tolland. (State police photo)
I-84 east in Tolland is expected to remain closed through Monday afternoon, according to officials. (@TollandAlert photo) I-84 east in Tolland is expected to remain closed through Monday afternoon, according to officials. (@TollandAlert photo)
(@TollandAlert photo) (@TollandAlert photo)
I-84 westbound remains closed in Tolland after a tractor trailer crash.  (Conn. State Police) I-84 westbound remains closed in Tolland after a tractor trailer crash. (Conn. State Police)
TOLLAND, CT (WFSB) -

Interstate 84 eastbound was closed for nearly 24 hours following the crash of a tractor trailer that was carrying chemicals on Sunday.

Connecticut State Police said as of 6 p.m. on Monday that the left and center lanes had reopened, but the right lane and shoulder remained closed.

The crash happened around 6:30 p.m. on Sunday between exits 67 and 68. The roads were fairly snow-covered at the time from Winter Storm Diana.

Police said no one was injured in the crash.

Troopers said they cited the driver, Raymond Blowers of Allen, TX.

They said he was traveling east just west of exit 68 when he lost control of the vehicle and went down a snowy embankment. The truck rolled onto its side.

Blowers was issued an infraction for traveling too fast for the current roadway conditions, which were icy and slushy from Winter Storm Diana. 

The truck was carrying more than 900 containers, several of which contained hazardous chemicals.

A spokesperson for DEEP told Eyewitness News the cargo included acids and flammable liquids.

Cleanup is expected to be completed by nightfall, according to the DOT.

Crews were cleaning out the inside of the trailer.

They said they did not see any infiltration on the site; however, they can not see if it spilled on the ground. They were still trying to determine that.

If the cleanup is completed before then, the highway will reopen. The truck will be recovered in the middle of the night.

"The bottom line is that highway is not going to be opened up until the cargo is safely removed from the crash so again, DEEP is estimating its well into the evening hours so the Uconn game tonight is at 9pm I believe, the traffic will start picking up around 7pm for that game so hopefully it will be open by then, if it's not, it's not," said CT State Police Sgt. Kenneth Albert.

Crews said it's been a challenge due to the steepness of the embankment.

Initially both directions of the highway were closed while crews worked to determine if any of the chemicals had spilled.  Additionally, residents on nearby Metcalf Road had to be evacuated from their homes.

State police said 5 Metcalf Road homes were evacuated, and residents are staying with friends and family until it is safe to return.

"I looked to my left and I saw the highlights on the truck and the tail lights down in the woods," said Bob Klukas, whose home is close to the scene so he had to evacuate Sunday night.

DEEP emergency responders also tested both the snowy surfaces and set up air monitoring.

"[Environmental Protection Agency] contractors are deploying air quality monitors in the area as a precaution only," Tolland officials said. "There is currently no threat to the public."

Snow and ice from Winter Storm Diana were said to have hampered efforts to remove the trailer.

Officials were able to reopen the westbound side of the highway later Sunday night; though, the eastbound side stayed closed through most of the Monday evening drive. 

Drivers were urged to avoid the area if possible, as heavy delays are expected along detour routes.

WFSB traffic reporter Nicole Nalepa had two possible detours for drivers.

The first takes drivers off of exit 67 to Route 31. They can take a right onto Route 74 and hop back on I-84 east at exit 68.

The second detour involves a right off of exit 67 to Routes 31 and 44 eastbound. Then, drivers can take a left onto Route 32 and back on I-84 east.

Neighbors told Eyewitness News that the stretch of roadway where the crash happened is accident-prone.

"It's a really bad stretch and you never know," said Cheryl Nicholas of Tolland. "I've gotten caught in it a couple of times and you just sit there from [exits] 68 to 67 and there's nowhere to go. And it's a bad spot."

For real-time traffic updates, check the WFSB traffic map here.

Stay updated with Eyewitness News as more information becomes available.

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