Asheville - The N.C. Department of Transportation and emergency response teams have closed the southbound lanes of Interstate 85 near the Little Rock Road exit due to a crash involving hazardous materials on the roadway.
A pickup truck towing a trailer with asphalt sealant spilled its cargo across all five lanes in a three-vehicle crash just south of Exit 32 in Mecklenburg County. Various emergency teams including the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police, Charlotte Fire Department and North Carolina Incident Management Team responded to the incident.
Asphalt sealant is highly flammable with vapors that travel along the ground and collect in low areas, according to the USDOT Emergency Response Guide. According to the Metrolina Regional Transportation Management Center, an emergency response cleanup team began the initial work of containing the material, and the Environmental Protection Agency was headed to the scene.
All traffic heading south is being directed to a detour. Motorists are to take the Little Rock Road exit and turn right, then turn left of U.S. 74 (Wilkinson Boulevard) and proceed to the I-485 on-ramp. Turn left on to I-485 Inner Loop and merge onto I-85 South to complete the alternate route.
As of 9:30 p.m., the earliest time to re-open the interstate to traffic was midnight, but a later time is more likely.
Motorists are encouraged to follow the instructions of local authorities, slow down in the area and be considerate of other drivers.
For real-time travel information, visit the Traveler Services section of NCDOT.gov or follow NCDOT on Twitter.
EDITOR'S NOTE at 11:34 p.m. - The interstate is expected to re-open by 4 a.m.