Tanker rollover, oil spill closes US 191 near Helper

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HELPER, Carbon County — U.S. Highway 191 is expected to remain closed throughout the rest of Friday after a semitruck hauling double tankers rolled about 7 miles north of Helper, spilling about 119 barrels of crude oil onto the roadway and into a nearby creek, officials said.

The rollover was reported about 3 miles south of the Carbon-Duchesne county border about 8 a.m. Carbon County sheriff's authorities said the truck was hauling crude oil.

Utah Department of Environmental Quality officials initially said about 280 barrels of oil had leaked onto the roadway and into nearby Willow Creek; however, they now believe it was 119 barrels, or roughly 5,000 gallons. About half of that ended up in the creek.

They added drinking water is not affected and a hazmat team has been dispatched 5 miles downstream from the crash site for containment.

The Utah Highway Patrol was dispatched to clean up the crash site and get the highway reopened, while Environmental Protection Agency and Southeast Utah Health District officials also responded to assist the DEQ in containing the oil spill.

Officials closed U.S. Highway 191 at the time the crash was reported and UHP officials say the highway will likely remained closed for the day and perhaps into Saturday morning while the cleanup continues.

Utah Department of Transportation officials said motorists should use alternate routes. UHP suggested drivers should use U.S. Highway 6 and U.S. Highway 40 to get between Price and Roosevelt while the closure is in place. Drivers can also use Emma Park Road in the area.

Details about what caused the crash and whether there were injuries weren’t immediately released.


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Carter Williams is an award-winning reporter who covers general news, outdoors, history and sports for KSL.com.


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