Interstate traffic delayed

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Truck overturns on I-26 carrying chicken and bacon

SALUDA — Traffic was delayed on Interstate 26 East most of Tuesday after a truck overturned early in the morning.

Polk County authorities responded to the scene, including the Saluda and Columbus fire departments.

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The truck was carrying chicken and bacon, which spilled all over the roadway.

A tractor-trailer overturned on Interstate 26 early Tuesday morning carrying chicken and bacon. The eastbound route was shut down to one lane while the debris was cleaned up. The driver of the truck was charged with failure to maintain lane and using a cellphone while driving a commercial vehicle. (Photo by the Columbus Fire Department)

The accident occurred at Mile Marker 63, near Holbert Cove Road, after the semi truck lost control and overturned.

The driver, who has not yet been named, was charged with failure to maintain lane and using a cell phone while in a commercial vehicle. The driver was not injured.

The North Carolina Highway Patrol had one lane blocked, with officials saying the lane could stay closed until Tuesday evening because of crews cleaning up the mess.

At one point Tuesday morning, traffic was backed up nearly 3 miles.

Polk County Emergency Management Director and Fire Marshal Bobby Arledge said Polk County officials are not the ones who clean up debris left on the interstate when these types of accidents occur.

Some people have their own companies, and sometimes it gets contracted out to someone else,” Arledge said. “That’s why sometimes it takes so long, because they have to call someone in to clean up the mess.”

Arledge said in this case, the trucking company will have to call in someone, likely with equipment to shovel the debris, which could take some time.

In the case where a truck wrecks and spills some type of chemical or fuel, which has occurred on Interstate 26, Arledge said a special hazmat team has to be called to clean up the roadway.

The Columbus Fire Department alerted residents through Facebook Tuesday of the delays.

“Expect delays: I-26 E at the top of the grade due to an overturned tractor and trailer,” stated the post. “Please use caution when driving through this area. I-26 will be one lane until cleanup.”