LOVELAND, Colo. — Both directions of North I-25 were open Sunday following a more than 36-hour closure to clean up and repair the road after a diesel fuel tanker crash that spilled approximately 11,000 gallons of fuel around 1 a.m. Saturday morning.
The closure prompted crews to detour interstate traffic onto US 85 and US 287, causing significant congestion and delays in the area.
Crews had to make emergency repairs on the roadway before reopening both directions. Some of the fuel seeped through the pavement and affected the subsurface, which meant that the affected areas had to be milled down and repaved, especially on the northbound section.
Authorities say the tanker crash occurred around 1 a.m. Saturday. Loveland fire crews arrived to find a fully engulfed diesel fire. Crews extricated one driver who suffered only minor injuries.
CDOT said due to the size of this spill, the Environmental Protection Agency will oversee the cleanup. Much of those cleanup duties involve on-going issues to ensure the fuel does not contaminate the Big Thompson River.
"At some point, [the diesel] might reach the river, just because the weather is going to turn against us," EPA federal on-site coordinator Valeriy Bizyayev said Sunday. "It's really hard to fight Mother Nature. Things stop working when weather goes south, and that's a big problem. But we'll do everything we can to mitigate it."
If some of that diesel does make it into the river, Bizyayev says it won't have significant impact.
"Diesel is a natural product. It's just a fraction of crude oil. And so eventually, over time, just by exposure, air exposure and everything else, it will break down and it will become basically kind of not much of a hazard," he said.
The EPA will remain on site in the coming days, and possibly weeks, to monitor mitigation efforts.