MARLBORO, N.J. – Route 9 in central New Jersey was closed in both directions after two tanker trucks crashed Friday morning, causing a massive fuel spill, evacuations and major delays for motorists in the area, authorities said.
A total of 6,000 gallons of fuel – 3,500 gallons of diesel fuel from one tanker and 2,500 gallons of gasoline from the other – spilled onto Route 9 near its intersection with Route 520 in Marlboro, according to the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office.
The highway was expected to remain shut down through the evening rush hour, according to the sheriff’s office. Authorities urged motorists to avoid the area and plan an alternate route.
Aerial photos from the scene showed pools of fuel had spread across much of the intersection.
The crash and spill caused major traffic delays, and nearby shops, offices and a nursery school were evacuated, Marlboro Mayor Jon Hornik told the Asbury Park Press. But he said crews had the situation “under control.”
The driver of the leaking truck was taken to the hospital for minor injuries, Marlboro Police Capt. Fred Reck said.
The county’s hazmat team, as well as local and county police departments, fire departments and emergency management officials were on site, Hornik said. He said he didn’t know what company or companies own the tankers.
The New Jersey Department of Transportation was also on site assessing the situation, spokeswoman Mairin Bellack said. Hornik said the NJDOT will also determine traffic routes for motorists during the evening commute.
About half the stores in Marlboro Plaza, which includes Kohl’s and TJ Maxx, were evacuated, Hornik said. A Press reporter at the scene said Marlboro Commons, which houses Whole Foods, and the Lowe’s shopping center were evacuated.
Hornik said The Goddard School, a nursery school, was evacuated and the children taken to the township’s recreation center. An Exxon gas station, a chiropractor’s office, Starbucks and several other businesses were also evacuated.
Fuel could be smelled from at least a quarter-mile away.
A tanker truck belonging to the Vineland-based Samuel Coraluzzo Co. & Torrissi Transport was near the site of the crash ready to suck the fuel out of the damaged tanker on Friday afternoon.
The sheriff’s office said the remaining fuel would have to be removed from both tankers before they could be towed from the scene.
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