Oregon Highway 22 east of the Marion County town of Gates was closed for about four hours Monday afternoon... and evening after a semi-truck overturned and a carton containing a hazardous chemical ruptured inside the trailer.
The incident lead to the release of ammonia fumes Oregon State Police reported.
Troopers said the liquid chemical spilled onto other chemical containers, resulting in ammonia fumes coming from the trailer and the resulting highway closure until Northwest Firefighters Hazardous Materials team could contain the incident.
According to OSP Trooper James Ward, a 2011 Volvo truck pulling a semi-trailer carrying miscellaneous food, groceries and mixed cleaning chemicals, driven by Timothy Ratzenburg, 33, of Palmdale, Calif., was traveling on Highway 22 near milepost 36.
Ratzenburg reportedly lost control trying to avoid an unidentified obstacle on the highway and his truck and trailer overturned on the highway shoulder.
A carton containing a corrosive chemical, sodium hydroxide, ruptured, leading to fumes emanating from the trailer. Troopers said a decision was made to completely close the highway until a hazardous material response team could respond and stabilize the situation before the remainder of the cargo could be off-loaded and the vehicles removed.
Ratzenburg was not injured. His passenger, German Olan, 43, of Mohave, Calif., received minor injuries.
The Gates Fire Department assisted on scene with traffic control and initial identification of the involved hazardous material. ODOT coordinated further traffic control and scene clearance.
OSP is continuing the investigation.
The road first reopened to one lane of traffic, with flaggers letting drivers through in alternating direction. ODOT warned motorists of long delays and urged them to avoid the area until the cleanup was complete. They said one detour option was state Highway 226 through Lyons and Scio to U.S. Highway 20.