POCONO TOWNSHIP– It’s a highway closure that many people who travel through Monroe County want to forget about.
Gridlock and traffic jams all because of a closed Interstate 80 near the Tannersville exit on Thursday.
“It took me like two and a half hours to get home. I work in New Jersey so it usually takes an hour and a half trip, it took me about two and a half hours,” Patrick Matthews of Reeders said.
After a Hazmat team was called in, emergency management officials learned that the truck, which is operated by U.S. Environmental, was hauling acetone, toluene, and a waste product.
EMA officials were worried because at least one of the chemicals was leaking and that might cause a fire or explosion.
“That was our biggest worry, that’s why we took precautionary measures in the voluntary evacuation of Northampton Community College Monroe campus as well as a few homes that were along that area and blocking Route 80 in both directions,” Monroe County Emergency Preparedness Planner, Mary Ellen Keegan said.
Newswatch 16 talked to drivers who said they were frustrated with the traffic jams.
“I live six and a half miles away from work, I left for work and I’m supposed to punch in at 3 p.m. and I punched in at 7:30 p.m.,” James Whitehead said.
Keegan admits traffic was an issue Thursday and they are already looking at ways to prevents backups from happening in the future.
We will take a look at what was done and if there is anything we can do in the future to maybe lessen the impact of gridlock in the county because it is an issue,” she said.
Something Pocono drivers feel is even more of an issue in the busy summer travel season.
“They need more roads need a lot more road. There is not enough roads to handle this traffic,” Whitehead said.
State police say they will cite the trucking company for the one drum was leaking along I-80.
Troopers say otherwise, the truck passed their inspection.
Investigators believe the spill was an accident.
The Department of Environmental Protection also plans to look into this spill in Monroe County.