Tuesday, July 03, 2001

Overturned trucks upend traffic

Trucker cited for spill on Fort Washington Way

By Michael D. Clark
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Thousands of drivers got two doses of bad news Monday when hundreds of gallons of slippery liquid graphite spilled onto a section of Fort Washington Way and an overturned truck blocked most southbound traffic on Interstate 75 near Buttermilk Pike.

        For more than 17 hours Monday, commuters and Fourth of July holiday travelers were detoured away from the overturned truck that spilled greasy lubricant just south of the Lytle Tunnel at 5:30 a.m., closing westbound Fort Washington Way.

        Travelers headed south on I-75 in Kentucky also were slowed for hours Monday morning after a tractor-trailer sideswiped an abandoned pickup truck and overturned at the Buttermilk Pike overpass in Kenton County, blocking most southbound traffic.

        Because of spilled diesel fuel and the subsequent cleanup, most of southbound I-75 in Crescent Springs was closed from about 4 a.m. to noon.

        “It's extraordinary that on a morning drive in a holiday week to have two accidents of this caliber,” said ARTIMIS Supervisor Mary McConnell.

        On an average day, 150,000 drivers use Fort Washington Way, and at least 75,000 were detoured Monday, estimated Tim Schoch, ARTIMIS deputy program manager.

        Michael Basista, 42, of Youngstown, the driver in the graphite spill, was cited for failure to control his vehicle, said Cincinnati Police Officer Mike Flamm.

        Mr. Schoch said ARTIMIS warned drivers of the I-71 southbound closure through messages on its I-275 traveler signs in northern Hamilton County, detouring traffic to south bound I-75 via Ronald Reagan Highway or the Norwood Lateral.


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