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TxDOT Crews Reinstalling Traffic Light Knocked Out by Gasoline Tanker

3 years 1 month 3 weeks ago Thursday, July 27 2017 Jul 27, 2017 July 27, 2017 10:59 AM July 27, 2017 in News

UPDATE (7/28): The Texas Department of Transportation is working to re-install a traffic light that was knocked out in an accident. 

A gasoline tanker driving Military Highway 281 rolled over that prompted the evacuation of nearby residents and a road closure for several hours.

TxDOT spokesman Octavio Saenz said the light had only been up for several weeks and wasn't operational. He said the light post that was to provide power had just been installed. 

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BLUETOWN – A portion of Military Highway 281 that was shut down after a tanker truck rolled over is now open.

Multiple crews responded to the scene where a gas tanker flipped over on the road, spilling its contents along Highway 281 near Bluetown and Santa Maria.

Residents in the area were asked to evacuate their homes as crews clean the spilled gasoline. 

A privately-owned hazmat company also dug up soil contacted by the gas. Crews waited for another tanker to arrive to transfer the 8,000 gallons of gas from the rolled-over tanker. 

Electricity in the area was also turned off.

DPS said the tanker was traveling westbound on 281, a two-lane only highway, around 11 a.m. Thursday, when another driver tried to pass him. The tanker driver said he veered over to the side of the road when he felt he was going to be hit.

DPS Sgt. Issac Juarez said the tanker went airborne causing it to flip over.

"So it turns out that the tractor trailer was cut off by another car and the driver of the tanker took evasive action to avoid hitting the car and in the process lost control and overturned," he said. 

The Mexican-based company that owns the tanker is named Traraysa Transportation. DPS said they will be paying for the cleanup effort by the hazmat company. 

CHANNEL 5 NEWS spoke to one of the residents. She said the tanker flipped over in front of her home. She said they felt the ground shaking from inside their home.

She mentioned the tanker also knocked down a blinking yellow light that had been installed in the area about three months ago. The American Red Cross was also on scene handing water and Powerade to help keep people nearby hydrated. 

The driver wasn't seriously injured. 

Drivers weren’t allowed through area as the spilled gasoline continues to be a threat. Traffic along 281, between FM 2556 and FM 506, was rerouted.

The cleanup is expected to continue until Friday. 

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