November 1, 2007

Northbound I-15 reopened at border

Desert Dispatch

KINGSTON ROAD — The northbound lanes of Interstate 15 near the Nevada state line have been reopened and cleaned.

An oil spill from an overturned semi truck caused the closure on Wednesday morning at about 7 a.m. Shelly Lombardo, a spokeswoman for Caltrans, said the roadway reopened at 3:51 a.m. Thursday morning.

Lombardo said the Caltrans maintenance department did not report any damages to the roadway, and Greg Veigler, a hazardous material specialist for San Bernardino County, said he does not expect any soil or water contamination. The motor oil was pure, he said, and free of any contaminates. He said the roadway had been cleaned with large vacuums, steam and pressure washers and a lot of kitty litter.

“It’s completely cleaned off the highway and shoulders,” Veigler said. “Just splashes of it made it off the road.”

Veigler said the oil that left the roadway ended up in an abandoned drainage ditch once used by Molycorp, a Colorado-based mining company that owns a mine in the Mountain Pass area. Crews will return to the site on Tuesday to finish cleaning up that oil but will have to use shovels and wear respirators because the site is contaminated with low levels of uranium waste, Veigler said.

Crews worked through the night to clean up the 1,500 to 2,000 gallons of oil that spilled from the truck. California Highway Patrol Officer Matt Sais said the truck was carrying oil containers ranging from five gallons to 200 gallons. When the truck overturned, many of the containers ruptured, Sais said.

The CHP approved a detour route around the stretch of the I-15 that was closed about 15 miles south of the Nevada state line.