I-70 reopened after spill near Silverthorne
May 30, 2012
SILVERTHORNE, Colo. – Interstate 70 was back open in both directions as of 5:30 p.m. Wednesday following a chemical lime spill earlier in the morning.
Eastbound traffic was rerouted through Frisco and onto the Dillon Dam Road in the morning. Westbound lanes reopened at 11:30 a.m. The eastbound closure was pushed back to Vail at noon to keep traffic from stacking up at Frisco, officials said.
The highway closed after a flatbed truck dropped eight 50-pound bags of hydrated lime powder at mile marker 204 on the hill between Frisco and Silverthorne.
The substance is a corrosive chemical that can cause burns to the skin and eyes as well as lungs and respiratory passages if inhaled.
It is still unclear whether the spill could impact the Blue River, emergency officials said.
“We’re about a half-mile away from the Blue River,” Lake Dillon Fire Rescue spokesman Steve Lipsher said. “The Colorado State Patrol is sending a hazmat team up to help us evaluate the risk and figure out the likelihood of this reaching the river in any concentration great enough to endanger the … fishery.”
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The spill is not considered to be a public health risk, according to Lipsher.
Lake Dillon, Copper Mountain Fire Department and Red, White and Blue Fire Protection teams responded to the scene to sweep up as much of the chemical as possible in full hazmat gear.
The semi-truck reportedly belongs to J Leya Trucking out of Fredrick.
The spill was not caused by any kind of accident and no serious injuries have been reported, officials said.
“There’s no crash,” state patrol spokesman Joshua Lewis said. “We’re not investigating anything like that.”
The driver allegedly pulled off at the Silverthorne exit when he noticed the spill, began to attempt to clean it up and suffered minor injuries from exposure to the chemical. He refused medical treatment, according to Lipsher.
A 65-year-old man was treated for lime exposure this morning at Summit Medical Center and has been released, a hospital spokesperson said.
It is unclear how he was involved in the spill.