Tanker Truck Overturns Closing I-40 For 9 Hours
A tanker truck caused I-40 to be shut down for most of the day on Tuesday when it overturned around 10am at MM 431 just past the 432 exit in Cocke County. The truck overturning completely blocked the westbound lanes, closing them. When TDOT learned the tanker truck was carrying hazardous material, it closed the eastbound lanes as well. An 8 mile stretch of I-40 was closed for about 9 hours. Traffic from the busy interstate was moved over to Hwy 25-70…a two lane highway. Westbound traffic was removed from the interstate via Exit 432A in Newport. Eastbound traffic was detoured off the interstate near Dandridge at exit 424. Westbound traffic at times was backed up past the 435 exit and eastbound traffic was backed up at times to the west side of the I-81 split. About 6pm the tanker truck was righted and the eastbound lanes were reoponed. TDOT moved the tanker truck to the rest area near MM 425 where its contents were transferred to another tanker. After moving the tanker and cleaning up debris off the roadway, I-40 was completely reopened at about 7:45 last night. That ended a long day for local law enforcement, THP, TDOT and Cocke County Emergency Management. For travelers of I-40 it was a welcome relief.
Traffic being re-routed onto Hwy 25-70 meant bumper to bumper slow traffic on that two lane highway. US 25E going north out of Newport was also bumper to bumper at times as motorists tried to use that roadway as a detour as well. The driver of the tanker truck suffered just minor injuries. The driver was transporting a substance called AUTOFROTH which is a plastic in a liquid state. The tanker did leak a little from its seals, but responding local fire departments were able to clean that up and no evacuations were necessary.