CHARLESTON, WV – After a tractor trailer carrying acetone-based material wrecked on Interstate 64 just west of the Interstate 77 split early in the morning on Tuesday, July 19, 2022, the West Virginia Division of Highways (WVDOH) was able to get the road reopened within 36 hours.
WVDOH credits cooperation with its sister agency, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP), for the quick turnaround. WVDEP, along with local law enforcement, emergency medical service, fire departments, and contractors with West Virginia Paving, worked alongside WVDOH throughout the night to clean up the chemical spill that damaged the roadway and to repave the road itself, all while maintaining detours.
It’s an incredible story of West Virginians just being West Virginians and taking care of each other.
“I was really thankful for the relationship that all the agencies that were on this job had,” said WVDOH District 1 Manager Arlie Matney. “That allowed our people to go in and do what we do best to have that road open within 36 hours.”
The truck wrecked in the westbound lanes prior to 6 a.m. Tuesday, July 19, 2022, spilling approximately 600 gallons of an acetone-based material onto the pavement. The material penetrated about two inches into the asphalt, destroying the pavement where it made contact.
The acetone did such a good job breaking down the asphalt that the truck was glued in place by the mess and had to be broken loose before it could be removed.
Officials with DEP arranged to empty the truck of unspilled acetone and dig up and safely dispose of the contaminated asphalt. WVDOH worked throughout the night directing traffic through a detour and surveying the damage.
“We painted on the road by flashlight what was going to have to be repaved,” Matney said. WVDOH negotiated an emergency paving contract with West Virginia Paving at about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 19, 2022.
“They started moving their equipment in about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday,” Matney said. “As soon as it was light and we could assess the situation, they went to work.”
Interstate 64 reopened, complete with new lane striping, at exactly 11:42 a.m. Wednesday, July 20, 2022.