STEVENSVILLE, Md. (WJZ) — A hazmat scare led to major back-ups on the Bay Bridge Tuesday. A tanker truck leaking propane caused officials to shut down both sides of the bridge for nearly two hours.
Meghan McCorkell has more on the scare and its impact.
Officials say they had to shut down both sides of the Bay Bridge as a precaution and that caused major headaches for drivers.
Propane shot from the top of a 9,000 gallon tanker, bringing Bay Bridge traffic to a screeching halt.
“Whenever there’s an accident on the bridge, it’s devastating,” said driver Rudy Carter.
Officials say a problem with a valve caused the propane to leak. The tanker driver, who was flagged down by another motorist, called authorities.
“We did set up a safety zone around the vehicle so that there was no potential for this to turn into a much worse incident,” said MdTA Police Sgt. Jonathan Green.
“The fire department is actually set up over here by the Bay Bridge Airport and pulled some hoses from across the highway so they could be prepared in case there’s any kind of a fire situation,” said Captain Jeff Long.
Both sides of the Bay Bridge were shut down. Some drivers were actually stuck on the bridge. Many got out of their cars and walked around.
Transportation officials tried to reopen the bridge as quickly as possible but the backups lasted for hours.
“We do this every day. We travel from the Eastern Shore to the Western Shore, then back in the evenings,” said driver Tony Aguilar. “It becomes a nightmare when things happen.”
Officials temporarily plugged the leak. The tanker was brought to Sandy Point State Park, where the propane was offloaded to another tanker. A potential tragedy was averted, but not before a rough rush hour.
The Maryland Transportation Authority will lead the investigation into what went wrong with the tanker.
At the height of the traffic jam, westbound lanes were backed up to Kent Narrows. Eastbound was stalled to St. Margaret’s Road.