A truck driver has been charged with speeding following his involvement in a crash that left a bridge covered in sulfuric acid. The 43-year-old Canadian man allegedly contributed to the accident by traveling at an excessive speed, but the North Carolina Highway Patrol says any additional charges are unlikely. According to investigators, the truck accident left the driver injured, but his wounds were not life threatening. He was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.
Police say the truck crash happened at around 10 p.m. as the tanker truck traveled eastbound on I-26. The truck eventually overturned shortly before reaching a bridge. The truck then slid onto the surface of the bridge and its cargo of sulfuric acid ignited.
Troopers with the Highway Patrol said the overturned tanker truck began leaking acid at a rate of about one gallon per minute, sparking concerns about run-off into a nearby river. However, emergency response crews were able to prevent any contamination by spreading 2,000 pounds of lime over the spill.
Following the accident, five bridge engineers were dispatched to the accident site to determine whether the impact of the truck caused any structural damage to the bridge. The engineers checked for corrosion, cracks and any damage the heat from the chemical fire may have inflicted on the bridge. After using x-rays and other techniques to assess the damage, work crews eventually removed damaged concrete from the bridge and poured several new layers and installed a guardrail, though they were delayed by poor weather. The North Carolina Department of Transportation said a special high-strength type of concrete was used.
Following the accident, police were forced to reroute traffic through a detour for several days as the bridge and road were repaired. The road was reopened three days after the truck accident.
Source: WSPA, "Driver Of Tanker Truck Involved In Henderson Co. Crash Charged," April 9, 2012