Saturday, June 21, 2008

47,000 Gallons of Hydrochloric Acid Spilled On I-10 East New Orleans

The acid's eating the interstate, says St. Tammany Parish President.

I thought that maybe it was a car pile-up and that's why I was stuck in traffic this morning on the Highway 11 bridge across Lake Pontchartrain. All I wanted to do was make it to my bank before noon, and I sat in my car chiding myself that I hadn't taken my father's advice. He tells everyone to check the news before they head across the Twin Spans from Slidell to New Orleans or vice versa.

I knew the bank would close before I reached it when I saw first an Arcadia Ambulance rush through, and a few minutes later, a fire truck sped by, sirens blaring. Cars veered off to hug the sides of the bridge, making way for the emergency vehicles that zoomed through straddling the center line of the two-way bridge. The bridge has only one lane in each direction.

So, I turned my car around, one of many making u-turns on the old, five-mile long stretch, and went home. When I checked email later I found an alert from WWL-TV, my favorite news channel in New Orleans.
Early Saturday morning a tanker truck hit a barricade, overturned on Interstate-10 and began leaking hydrochloric acid, closing the Twin Spans in both directions between Slidell and New Orleans.

The incident occurred on I-10 eastbound just east of the Twin Spans on the St. Tammany side of the highway, according to state trooper Louis Calato. Trooper Calato said the public is not in danger from the spill and no one has been evacuated. He said no acid has gone into Lake Pontchartrain. (WWL)

I also learned from the station's website, which has photos of the accident and video, that the tanker spilled 47,000 gallons of acid. The accident happened around 4:00 a.m. this morning. According to WWL, the president of St. Tammany Parish, Ken Davis, said the acid's eating into the interstate.

I guess they talked to Davis instead of Mayor Ray Nagin of New Orleans, aka Orleans Parish, because the spill is closer to St. Tammany and St. Tammany deputies were the first to respond. Arnie Fielkow is the Orleans Parish President.

The truck overturned at the base of the bridge in Orleans Parish between the Twin Spans entrance and the last exit before you must cross the lake to Slidell. The last exit is also the Irish Bayou exit in the Ninth Ward, New Orleans East.

The world knows of the New Orleans Ninth Ward via Katrina. It's the ward where Brad Pitt's trying to make it right, but many others are also working to rebuild.

You don't really think about the fact that New Orleans is nearly an island and the ways to and from it are limited until something like this happens, or you've got to evacuate due to hurricane, or the city floods.

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