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[UPDATE 11:51 a.m.: Bypass Now Open.] Willits Bypass Closed This Morning After Fuel Tanker Collides with Vehicles Leaking Onto the Roadway

As per scanner traffic and the California Highway Patrol Traffic Incident Information page, at approximately 5:51 a.m. a fuel tanker reportedly collided with two other vehicles towards the north end of the Willits Bypass.

A screenshot from the CalTrans Quickmap providing an overview of the incident’s effect on nearby roadways

The collision resulted in the fuel tanker being inoperable, the roadway littered with debris, and gasoline leaking in the roadway. First responders decided to shut down the Willits Bypass, redirecting traffic through Willits proper, as they clean up the scene. Estimates indicate the bypass could be shut down for 2-3 hours, as of 7:18 p.m.

The intersection of Willits’s Main Street and State Route 20 this morning as traffic is redirected through town [Picture from CalTrans Quickmap]

A review of the CHP Traffic Incident Information Page indicates there were no injuries as a result of these collisions. There was mention the fuel tanker might require being emptied before it can be actually towed.

Please remember that this story is unfolding. Information is being reported as we gather it. However, some of the information coming from witnesses and initial official reports could be wrong. We will do our best to get the facts but, in the case that something is inaccurate, we will update with correct information as soon as we can.

UPDATE 8:50 a.m.: CHP spokesperson Officer Rick Fowler told us that a little before 6 a.m., a tanker and and a FedEx truck collided towards the north end of the Willits Bypass just south of the southbound exit. A third vehicle was also involved according to the Governor’s Office Emergency Services Hazardous Materials Spill Report.)

Neither vehicles occupants were injured. However, the tanker was damaged and spilled fuel (according to the OES’s Hazardous Materials Spill Report, about 100 gallons of diesel fuel spilled). Caltrans is currently cleaning up the spill.

BUT, Fowler said the real slowdown is because the tanker was so damaged that the fuel in the tanker needs to be offloaded to another tanker and then towed away. He said that the cleanup could take another two hours.

UPDATE 11:51 a.m.: The Bypass is now open.

Categories: News, Traffic

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