An early-morning collision between two semi-trucks -- one carrying hazardous material -- caused the closure of Interstate 80 Wednesday near the Wyoming border.
Interstate 80 westbound remained closed at the Wyoming border as of 11 a.m. Wednesday, while both eastbound lanes were open, said Adan Carrillo, Utah Department of Transportation spokesman. The westbound lanes are expected to open to all traffic late Wednesday afternoon.
The incident occurred at about 5 a.m., when a semi-truck carrying 500 car batteries and eight 55-gallon drums of a cleaning chemical called Acid Magic was parked on the shoulder of the road 15 miles west of Wyoming, said Tyler Rowser, North Summit Fire District spokesman. The parked semi was hit from the back by a traveling semi-truck, and both ignited. Witnessing drivers had to pull the parked driver to safety, and the driver who had driven into the semi was flown to Salt Lake City in critical condition, Rowser said.
Multiple agencies responded to the fire, Rowser said. "We let the acid burn off as much as we could, then we started fire suppression," he said. Park City's hazmat team arrived to handle the chemicals and batteries.
While I-80 eastbound remains closed, UDOT recommends that drivers use alternate routes. Major delays should be expected. According to UDOT, alternate routes into northern Utah include "traveling north on U.S. 89, to State Route 36, to State Route 167 (Trappers Loop), to I-84 to Ogden. To access Salt Lake City drivers should use State Route 150 (Mirror Lake Highway), to State Route 248, to U.S. 40, reconnecting to I-80 westbound. Another route is State Route 153 Chalk Creek Road to Coalville, although the road might not be paved on the Wyoming side."
This story contains changes from an original story as our reporting was updated.
-- David Burger