LA VERGNE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Crews with the Tennessee Department of Transportation spent hours repairing a section of Interstate 24 following a massive fuel spill.
On Thursday morning, the Tennessee Highway Patrol said a vehicle collided with a tanker truck carrying fuel, causing the truck to overturn and leak near the Davidson-Rutherford County line. About 8,800 gallons of fuel poured onto the interstate, deteriorating the asphalt and making the roadway unsafe.
TDOT Community Relations Officer Rebekah Hammonds said crews had to mill and repave the westbound shoulder and all eastbound lanes, a total of 1,900 feet, due to the amount of fuel that spilled in the crash.
"Asphalt begins to deteriorate under fuel at about 3 to 4 gallons," Hammonds said. "You can imagine what 8,800 gallons would do."
This pic is an example of the road after scraping it with a boot. The surface of the road is coming up and fuel is sitting on top of the underlying layer of asphalt. pic.twitter.com/UZ2Lfc56Os— Rebekah Hammonds (@RebekahTDOT) March 17, 2022
TDOT crews had to mill 2.5 inches of pavement. On average, for a project such as pothole-filling or resurfacing, crews remove about 1.25 to 1.5 inches of pavement.
"The asphalt deteriorated in such a state that you could move around the top layer of the asphalt. Imagining I-24 traffic trying to drive on that, [it] just would not have been safe," Hammonds said.
The crash shut down portions of the interstate for about 16 hours, causing heavy traffic for miles. The traffic was so bad, TDOT’s repaving process was delayed by a few hours as crews had trouble getting the equipment and materials to the site.
TDOT's repair process was completed around 2 a.m. Friday and the roadway was fully reopened shortly after.