A tractor-trailer struck a bridge abutment on Interstate 495 south Tuesday morning, seriously injuring the driver and causing a massive traffic jam during rush hour.
The crash occurred about 5:30 a.m. at the Route 140 north exit. The driver suffered serious but not life-threatening injuries and was taken to Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, Deputy Fire Chief James Puleo said.
The cab of the truck was destroyed and both saddle fuel tanks ruptured, causing diesel fuel to spill on the highway.
The tanks carry about 300 gallons of fuel but it was undetermined how much fuel spilled. “The engine block was actually separated from the vehicle,” he said.
Engine oil leaked into a nearby storm drain and a portion of the cargo, Ken’s Steakhouse salad dressing, spilled onto the highway, Puleo said.
The driver of a car was also injured but declined to be taken to a hospital. The cause of the accident is under investigation by state police. The state Department of Environmental Protection was notified because of the fuel and oil leaks.
Officials had to close the ramp and two lanes on the right side of the highway while the accident scene was cleared. Puleo estimated that the highway would be closed for a good part of the day.
Traffic was backed up for about six miles on I-495 south and also Interstate 95 near the I-495 exits.