One lane of Highway 64 open after fuel spill


UPDATE: POLK COUNTY, Tenn. (WDEF) – TDOT says crews have completed their roadway and guardrail repairs and US 64 has just been reopened to one lane of traffic.

Flaggers will assist with traffic control.

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They are urging drivers to be patient while traveling through the area and to please watch out for the flaggers.

This comes after a tanker went off the road, and spilled into the Ocoee River on Tuesday.

POLK COUNTY, Tenn. (WDEF) — Crews spent the day cleaning up after a tanker crashed into the Ocoee and spilled fuel.

Drivers going down Highway 64 had to be turned around. Part of the road is closed after a tanker crashed into the Ocoee and spilled fuel Tuesday night.

Kayakers had to change their plans.

“Luckily we’ve got the Tellico about an hour away. We are just going to drive up there. Kind of puts a little detour in the day, but got time,” Blaine Donaldson said.

Crews spent the day cleaning up the area.

“First and foremost getting any gas or diesel that may have spilled, making sure that doesn’t get all the way down the river. The environmental control people have been on the scene, from the very beginning. Done a great job and kept it to a very minimum and they will be cleaning it up as well,” Polk County Sheriff Steve Ross said.

They then got the tanker out of the water. During all of this the road was shutdown.
For people heading toward Ducktown, there was an extra hour and a half drive time.

“It is a long commute but we are just glad that it is not going to be an extended affair. It is just going to be a yesterday and hopefully by the end of today, they can get this cleaned up and get the road opened back up,” Sheriff Ross said.

Donaldson is glad this spill wasn’t worse.

“Everything that spilled is downstream the river so it is not actually contaminating the river. Hopefully they will get the spill cleaned up soon and we can be out here tomorrow kayaking,” Donaldson said.

Officials say the spill wasn’t as bad as they initially thought. A large portion was recovered, but crews will still be out there the next couple of days cleaning up.

As of 8pm Wednesday, the road is not open. TDOT officials say once it is reopened, environmental crews will be there for the next week to week and a half to monitor the cleanup site.  This will require one lane to be closed during the period of monitoring. Officials say flaggers will handle traffic control.