NB I-15 reopens following crash, massive oil spill in Draper
Dec 8, 2022, 5:35 AM | Updated: 6:57 pm
DRAPER, Utah — State troopers closed northbound Interstate 15 at 14600 South due to a crash involving several vehicles and a tanker that spilled over 2,000 gallons of oil on the roadway.
Drivers experienced major delays near the Point of the Mountain, and Cpl. Tara Whalberg with the Utah Highway Patrol said drivers should avoid driving from Utah County into Salt Lake County until late Thursday afternoon, if possible.
UHP Sgt. Cameron Roden said the crash happened when an Amazon semi-truck jackknifed near 14200 South, blocking the right lanes early Thursday morning.
A car entered I-15 at 14600 South and merged to avoid the semi when a pickup truck “traveling at a significantly higher speed” struck the car.
Roden said a semi-truck with two tankers of crude oil was also traveling too fast for the conditions and lost control, sliding into the back of the Amazon semi.
The second semi’s back tanker overturned and detached, blocking the middle lanes and spilling approximately 1,500 gallons of crude oil.
An SUV then struck debris in the area and became disabled on the road.
Hazmat, Utah Department of Transportation and environmental crews were on scene to help with clean-up efforts.
Jake Brown with the Utah Department of Transportation explained that closing the freeway is a hard decision because they want to keep people moving but they have to prioritize public safety.
“It was almost 2,000 gallons of crude oil across all lanes, and what (people) don’t understand is if we were to allow traffic to be on the freeway to go through that, we would be chasing an oil spill from here to 7200 South. Causing a lot more accidents, causing a lot more drainage issues,” Brown said.
Northbound I-15 was completely closed through approximately 10:15 a.m. and state troopers opened two right lanes before 11 a.m.
“Pretty overwhelming, right in the middle of a snowstorm,” Brown said. “Once we got some of the snow melted the scene was a lot bigger than we thought. It was a lot more crude oil under the snow, snow was on top of it, so when that started to melt we had puddles 2-3 feet deep right in front of the drains of crude oil.”
Traffic spilled onto nearby surface streets, causing travel headaches between American Fork and Draper.
A partial closure is expected to remain in place through Thursday afternoon. Troopers temporarily closed northbound I-15 onramps in Lehi and American Fork to help ease the congestion and began reopening the ramps before 1:30 p.m.
NEW INFO on I-15 northbound closure:
⏺crews cleaning up 2-3,000 gallons spilled oil
⏺ UHP aims to open 2 right lanes in 45 min
⏺ fwy to be partially closed until 3:30/4 pm
⏺ UHP says STAY HOME if you can, go slow if you’re out on roads @KSL5TV pic.twitter.com/r0XQt4UZfD
— Shelby Lofton (@newswithShelby) December 8, 2022
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