West Seattle Bridge traffic alert: Exit to NB 99 reopens after hours-long closure following diesel spill on eastbound bridge

August 26, 2014 at 4:57 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle traffic alerts | 16 Comments

(Added: Photo of truck, tweeted by Seattle Fire)
4:57 PM: In case you’re heading toward downtown (or beyond) sometime soon: Thanks to the tipster who just called to let us know about a truck stopped on the eastbound bridge near the Highway 99 exit, leaking fluid. It’s on the SFD 911 log as a “fuel spill.”

5:10 PM UPDATE: The exit to 99 is closed because of the cleanup, per this SDOT tweet:


5:20 PM UPDATE: A text from Metro says that since the ramp is closed for now, Routes 21, 120, 125, and RapidRide C Line are rerouting onto 4th Avenue South.

5:28 PM UPDATE: Seattle Fire estimates the spill at about 80 gallons. (added) SPD adds that “Portions of roads near Harbor Island will be closed for an extended period.” And now there’s also word of a crash *on* northbound 99 north of the ramp from the bridge, so even if you get onto 99 from points to the south, you might be in for some trouble.

5:47 PM UPDATE: The cleanup of what’s described over emergency radio as diesel fuel also involves checking storm drains to make sure the fuel doesn’t get into the river or Puget Sound.

6:45 PM UPDATE: SDOT says the ramp will be closed “for several hours” because the hazmat team is investigating.

9:28 PM UPDATE: SPD says it probably won’t reopen until midnight. Here’s the summary just posted on SPD Blotter:

Multiple city agencies responded to a diesel fuel spill after a semi-truck punctured its gas tank sending 80 gallons of fuel onto streets near Harbor Island during Tuesday evening’s commute.

Officers began receiving calls about a fuel leak at the Alaskan Way on-ramp to the West Seattle Bridge just before 4:45 p.m. As they arrived, they found roads in the area covered in diesel fuel, making the roads very slick, for approximately one mile leading up to where the fuel source was found. Officers discovered the disabled semi-truck at the on-ramp surrounded in a three-inch-deep pool of fuel.

The Seattle Fire Department responded to the scene and began sopping up the fuel as it sank into the ground and drained into the sewage system. It is still unknown the extent of damage the fuel may have caused. The United States Coast Guard was called to the scene to help prevent fuel from leaking into the Duwamish Waterway.

Officers spoke with the driver of the semi who said he was unsure of what punctured the tank, but he had been traveling in the direction of the leak. Officers scoured the area and found a raised curb that appeared to have been hit by the truck, tearing a hole in the exposed fuel tank.

Four other vehicle were damaged in collisions related to the fuel spill and many others were trapped in the spilled fuel.

The ramp is closed as crews continue to cleanup, but is expected to reopen around midnight.

11:45 PM: Checking the webcam that’s been zoomed in on the ramp, looks like it’s open.

16 Comments

  1. this has not been a good traffic day..
    it took me an hour and twenty minutes to drive from West Seattle to the University district today..
    and that was before the spill

    Comment by JoB — 6:10 pm August 26, 2014 #

  2. My wife ended up driving through this mess shortly after it first happened. (Luckily avoiding a crash in the process.) Our car is definitely drenched in diesel. Gross.

    Comment by Zizou — 6:14 pm August 26, 2014 #

  3. Just drove by. Fire truck, and the truck that caused this mess, have just left the scene. Cops and fire supervisors still there. Sign on roadway says on-ramp will be closed until 5am. Yuck!

    Comment by Adrienne — 7:03 pm August 26, 2014 #

  4. Going home and passing the closure. Environmental services trucks are out there along with squad cars blocking the area.

    Comment by LyndaB — 9:11 pm August 26, 2014 #

  5. I read elsewhere that the trucker “misjudged” a curb or somesuch and it punctured the fuel tank. oops.

    Comment by flimflam — 9:15 pm August 26, 2014 #

  6. SFD tweeted some extra info which I am adding now, including some pictures, and that was part of it.

    Comment by WSB — 9:25 pm August 26, 2014 #

  7. …and as I typed that, SPD also has posted a wrapup of everything it’s learned, which we’ll also add.

    Comment by WSB — 9:27 pm August 26, 2014 #

  8. This may have nothing to do with this spill, but it seems like local truck drivers are getting more aggressive out there. I regularly see 18-wheelers (including flammables!) speeding (on an open road I’d expect it, but not in the morning/afternoon when traffic is much closer together), changing lanes suddenly, and in one recent instance a big-rig driver was tailgating a passenger car at 60 in the right-hand lane of I-5.
    .
    Because of this, I give truckers a wider berth than ever, but truckers should know better, because their margin of error is much, much tinier than that of a passenger car.

    Comment by Mel — 10:30 pm August 26, 2014 #

  9. Drove right through the gas…anybody know how to get diesel out of my wheel wells?

    Comment by Margot — 10:33 pm August 26, 2014 #

  10. Is 99 open yet? I want to go home!’

    Comment by Msf — 10:42 pm August 26, 2014 #

  11. Msf – if you haven’t gone home yet – I just checked the SDOT camera and although SDOT hasn’t made an announcement, nor has SPD, it appears to be open.

    Comment by WSB — 11:40 pm August 26, 2014 #

  12. Does anyone know the name of the truck company? I drove right through the gas and came very close to crashing. My entire car is covered in fuel on the outside, and smells terrible inside/out, hoping to connect with someone at that company

    Comment by JCG — 12:26 am August 27, 2014 #

  13. JCG, rather than (or before) contacting the company directly, I’d suggest contacting SPD if you haven’t already, to see who is the lead on this investigation, since if there was a violation, it would sound like you are a victim.

    Comment by WSB — 12:40 am August 27, 2014 #

  14. <<>>
    Margot, it is not corrosive (not like the salt used on our winter roads these days) and won’t damage the car. You can take it to the spray&wash pressurewash place and hit it with the degreaser first (don’t get this on the paint) then the soap, then rinse. Maybe $10? They recycle their water there, so better environmentally than doing it in the driveway, alley, or street.

    Comment by bolo — 8:54 am August 27, 2014 #

  15. I came off Harbor Island last night after work, and there was a trail of diesel on the road all the way from mid-way on the island to the ramp…they obviously hit someting on the island and trailed it all the way to the ramp…

    Comment by Mf73 — 11:22 am August 27, 2014 #

  16. I was the lead car in the accident. It was an incredibly scary experience! I am thankful to the kindness of the people I was around, especially Vicki! I do hope the trucking company takes responsibility! My car smells awful and there is damage to my car!

    Comment by Kari — 8:10 pm August 28, 2014 #

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