PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A sticky, black mess covered nearly 40 miles of the Pennsylvania Turnpike after a tanker truck hauling driveway sealant sprung a leak Tuesday night.
Traffic was brought to a halt and drivers were stranded as they tried to free their vehicles from the tar-like substance.
More than 100 cars were disabled in the muck and now, drivers are wondering where to turn for help.
An estimated 4,000 to 5,000 gallons was spilled on the roadway.
On Wednesday, a lot of the affected motorists got a good look at the damage for the first time.
“It was like, making it real slippery. I pulled over and I guess there was three inches of tar,” Stanton Hubbard said.
He was one of the professional drivers along with at least 200 motorists who made their way through the substance overnight.
“The truck’s just vibrating and bouncing,” Hubbard said. “I thought the road was deteriorating.”
Hubbard’s truck was layered with the substance. Some of it was still soft and sticky hours after a tanker sprung a leak between the New Castle and Allegheny exits.
“I was just going to get a cup of coffee and take a look at it and see if I could move or not,” Mike Niquette said.
The 18 tires on Niquette’s rig are covered in the substance. At $500 to $600 a piece they are going to be expensive to replace.
The company hauling the material was MTS Transportation, but it remains to be seen who is going to pick up the cleanup tab.
“I’m a resident of Pennsylvania and it’s on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, so somehow, some way we’ll probably pay for it right?” Michael Hock said.
The driver of the leaking tanker is facing charges for not securing the load.
As for how to remove it, that has yet to be determined. In the meantime, the Turnpike Commission is putting a sand-like substance over it in the hopes of giving motorists traction.
Motorists who experienced damage can call Travelers Insurance directly at 1-800-238-6225.