A spokesperson for the California Highway Patrol confirmed that a big rig carrying chemicals crashed on Hwy 101 south of Bell Springs Road about 5:15 a.m.There was a hazardous waste spill. Hwy 101 is completely closed. There is no estimated time of opening.
Recently retired Laytonville Fire Chief Sue Carberry told us northbound traffic is being directed to Branscomb Road to the coast then north up Hwy 1 to Leggett and southbound traffic is being redirected using the same route.
Details are skimpy at this point as the area is remote and cell phone/as well as radio access is difficult.
The CHP Traffic Incident Information Page reports that the truck was hauling corrosives and is now leaking. The Governor’s Office Emergency Services
Hazardous Materials Spill Report states that about five gallons of a Hydroxide sodium (peroxide phosphoric acid and soduium hydroxide) solution spilled. The report, “freight truck overturned at the listed location due to unknown reasons. The incident resulted in a chemical spill to the roadway. The CHP and the local fire department are on-scene. No fires or injuries were reported and no waterways were impacted. The release has been stopped and the owner is en route to assist with the cleanup.”
The same report says that at first the “[reporting person] stated that there are two 28 foot box trailers that are carrying 475 pounds of Organic Peroxide, 578 pounds of Phosphoric Acid, and 2 drums at 1056 pounds of Sodium Hydroxide which is the only one actively leaking at this time. It is not leaking into any storm drains or waterways.”
The driver is uninjured and is not suspected of a DUI, according to the CHP Traffic Incident Information Page.
UPDATE 3:46 p.m.: The closure of Highway 101 persists this afternoon. The CHP Traffic Incident Information Page indicates crews have actively been working to remediate the hazardous material situation throughout the day.
A first responder at the scene told us 9:00 p.m. is the speculated time the highway will reopen, but that has not been corroborated by any officials, but the CHP Incident page does mention the reopening occurring this evening.
UPDATE 10:15 a.m.: Bell Springs Road is closed “1/2 mile north of Hwy 101,” according to the CHP Traffic Incident Information Page.
UPDATE 10:47 a.m.: Caltrans reports,
UPDATE 6:42 p.m.: Caltrans reported that “US Hwy 101 will open at approximately 7 pm tonight to one-way controlled traffic. Traffic will be backed up for a while and crews are still cleaning up. Please Slow down and proceed with caution.”
UPDATE 7:42 p.m.: Open!! According to Jacob Whitney, a resident near Bell Springs, “Plenty” of traffic is now moving through on Hwy 101 in both directions.
Please remember that information gathered from initial reports is subject to revision as more facts become available.