Highway 278 Re-Opened Around 10:30 Friday Night

(Photos courtesy of Cherokee County Office of Emergency & Homeland Security)

Highway 278 surrounding roads were re-opened at around 10:30 Friday night.

Alabama Highway 278, along with a number of county roads, had to be shut down for most of the day Friday, following an 18-wheeler rollover near County Rooad 126, just before 8:00 that morning.  The wreck resulted in the tanker springing what was described as a “small leak”; the tanker was reportedly hauling around 80,000 pounds of Anhydrous Ammonia. 

Anhydrous ammonia – otherwise known as NH3 – is a widely used source of Nitrogen fertilizer.  If not handled properly NH3 can be dangerous.  Anhydrous means without water.  Because NH3 contains little or no water it aggressively seeks out moisture, be it from soil, or your eyes, throat, lungs or skin.  Any anhydrous ammonia contact with a person’s body could cause tissue dehydration, caustic burns as well as frostbite. When used as an agricultural fertilizer NH3 is compressed into a liquid; this requires a substantial amount of pressure and specially designed tanks and equipment.  If not stored or transported properly serious injuries are possible. 

Marion Environmental which is headquartered in Chattanooga, Tennessee arrived at around 10:50am to begin “clean-up” operations.  According to Piedmont EMS, the driver of the 2015 Volvo 18-wheeler, listed as a male from Dubach, Louisiana, was air-lifted for treatment following that mishap.

EMA officials, Alabama State Troopers, Piedmont EMS, Spring Garden firefighters and other emergency agencies all responded to the scene and assisted with traffic control through the day and into the night.

That wreck remains under investigation.ROLL

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