Local News

May 22, 2013 11:38 AM by Ben Lloyd - blloyd@kristv.com

Tanker Truck Causes Traffic Nightmare on Tuesday

CORPUS CHRISTI - Interstate 37 reopened last night around 9 pm after an overturned propane truck caused a big headache for many drivers trying to get downtown or to and from Portland.

Right before 2 p.m. Tuesday, the truck carrying a full load of propane came off the harbor bridge, tried rounding the curve at the bottom, overturned and slid into the barrier in the middle of the freeway near the Tancahua overpass.

The truck driver was not injured. As soon as he got out of the wrecked truck he started waving other drivers away from the area due to the flammable load.

Police ordered everyone at nearby Solomon Coles H.S. to shelter in place as they made sure nothing was leaking from the tanker. Students and staff were allowed to leave before 5 p.m.

However, traffic coming across the Harbor Bridge from Portland was snarled for more than 6 hours as police diverted everyone towards the Port Avenue exit. Traffic heading to Portland was light as the only way to enter the highway was the on-ramps in downtown.

Police kept everyone at a great distance during the entire cleanup operation.

"If there is a spark, it could cause a very rapid fire very quickly that could occupy a very large area. So for safety, we're keeping everyone at a large distance, that includes us, we had to be moved, just to make sure everyone stays safe. There's been no injuries, and we want to keep it that way," said Kirk Stowers with the Corpus Christi Police Department.

As a second tanker was unloading the propane from the wrecked truck, a police captain actually made the call to back up members of the media who he believed to be too close to the danger zone.

It took half the night to unload and upright the truck.

There's no word yet on what company the driver worked for or if he was issued a ticket for the crash.

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