100-gallon olive oil spill blocks Riverside freeways

Daniel Orth/Flickr (Creative Commons-licensed)

File: The 60/91/215 interchage in Riverside, California.

A tanker full of olive oil overturned Wednesday afternoon, blocking lanes on the eastbound 91 Freeway near the 60 Freeway, as well as a connector ramp for the 60 Freeway to the Interstate 215 northbound, jamming traffic at the major freeway interchange.

The crash happened at 1 p.m. when the driver lost control of the tanker truck, causing it to tip over on its side and trap him in the rig. Riverside firefighters safely removed the man from the truck.

The extent of his injuries wasn't immediately known. Authorities don’t know what triggered the wreck. No other vehicles were involved.

Over 100 gallons of olive oil were spilled, the L.A. Times reports. The rig's load of olive oil streamed onto the freeway, according to the California Highway Patrol. Crews have been sent down to mop up the oil.

"The tanker is still blocking the road," according to Division Chief Bob Bock of the Riverside Fire Department. "There's a massive traffic jam and it will be there for some time."

The truck went down in the far right lanes of the 91 near the entrance of the connector ramp to the 60 and 215 freeways. CHP closed three of four lanes on the eastbound 91 leading to the eastbound Moreno Valley (60) Freeway and northbound I-215; two of those lanes were opened back up as of 3:41 p.m. The eastbound 60 Freeway connector to the 215 was also closed. This comes a week after the 60 was shut down due to a tanker fire.

The interchange is one of the busiest freeway corridors in the region for commuters throughout the Inland Empire, Temecula Valley and Orange County.

No fuel was spotted on the freeway. Caltrans estimated that cleanup would take two to three hours.

This story has been updated.

Correction: The original headline on this story said that two L.A. freeways had been closed by the olive oil spill; the spill didn't fully close two freeways. It blocked several lanes of the 91 Freeway eastbound and the 215 Freeway northbound in one direction and closed a connector ramp from the 60 Freeway to the 215 Freeway north. The crash was also in Riverside, not in L.A.

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