Semi truck carrying batteries wrecks in Glenwood Canyon | AspenTimes.com

Semi truck carrying batteries wrecks in Glenwood Canyon

Lora Meredith
Special to The Aspen Times

Hazardous materials expert, Frank Jonston, center, looks for the best way to enter a flipped trailer containing mine equipment batteries. The trailer, owned by Conway Transpartation Services crashed about 5:30am Wednesday morning closing I70 thourgh the Glenwood Canyon for hours The white material is soda ash used to neutralize the acid. Jim Noelker photo

A tandem semi-trailer rig carrying batteries overturned early Wednesday in Glenwood Canyon after the driver apparently overcorrected on a curve.

It was the third truck wreck in the canyon in the past three months.

The smell of diesel filled the air as westbound traffic on Interstate 70 slowed at the entrance to Glenwood Canyon. Motorists gaped at the wreck just east of the Bair Ranch rest area.

The 5:30 a.m. wreck closed the westbound lanes until 9 a.m., when the Colorado State Patrol re-opened the right lane.

The Conway Transportation Services driver was not injured. Authorities and the company would not release the driver’s name Wednesday.

The tandem rig was carrying auto parts and 3,600 pounds of heavy, oversized batteries used in mine operations, Gypsum Fire Chief Dave Vroman said.

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Liquid acid shipped with the batteries spilled from the trailer, and about 10 gallons leaked onto the highway, said Cindy Hassig, a worker with the Colorado State Patrol hazardous-materials team.

Vroman said workers covered the spilled acid with pot ash to neutralize it and to make cleanup safe.

The trailer itself could not be opened until the battery acid was cleaned up, said Dave Moody, another worker on the CSP haz-mat team.

The trucking company hired R.M. Cat Environmental Services of Denver to clean up the spilled batteries and hazardous acid, said Chip Medina, an R.M. Cat worker.

The wreck happened when the driver apparently overcorrected on a left-hand curve. The second trailer rolled onto its left side, Hassig said. The truck dragged the trailer on its side for about two-tenths of a mile before stopping.

The tractor and first trailer were removed, and the driver was taken to the hospital for a routine drug test. Results were not available at press time. The accident remains under investigation.

By noon the R.M. Cat crew opened the trailer and removed the hazardous materials. At 3:50 p.m. the trailer was righted, and the westbound lanes were re-opened shortly after.