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Accident Forces Closure Of Highway 49 Near Harmony Lane

Photo by Virginia Lazar

OAKHURST — An accident that resulted in a hazmat situation closed down both lanes of Highway 49 this afternoon just north of Oakhurst.

At about 3 p.m., John Costello, 26, of Bakersfield, was southbound in a 2005 International truck just south of Harmony Lane at a stated speed of 45-50 miles per hour, according to CHP. The truck was carrying a load of tree rounds in a roll-off bin attached to the bed.

The truck entered a sharp left curve in the roadway at a speed that was too fast to safely negotiate the turn, causing the load of tree rounds to shift to the right, and the load straps to break, according to CHP.

The bin became detached and collided with the dirt embankment. The driver then veered to the right, also colliding with the dirt embankment.

The truck came to rest blocking both lanes of traffic. The right side fuel tank was damaged due to the collision, causing approximately 45 gallons of diesel fuel to spill onto the roadway and dirt shoulder.

Both lanes of State Route 49 were closed for approximately about an hour, and traffic backed up for miles in both directions. Just after 4 p.m., one-way traffic control was put in place. Motorists should expect that to continue throughout the evening.

The scene was declared a hazmat spill incident. Caltrans and Madera County Fire responded to the scene, and Madera County Health Department was advised and approved clean-up measures.

Estimated time for the spill to be clean up is about midnight.

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Sierra News Online

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