Tuesday morning at around 3am, the West Virginia state police was notified that an 18-wheeler traveling on I-77 northbound has turned over between exits 48 and 66. What made the accident even worse was that the semi-truck was hauling a load of car batteries. These batteries are hazardous materials and when broken open all over the interstate pavement it becomes a chemical hazard. Travelers from in and out-of-state were very frustrated over the turnpike detour, I got to speak to one myself.
Rick Estes, traveler from VA said, “I’m extremely frustrated, I’ve never been to a highway stoppage like this, where you just continue to loop back and forth. You don’t have the opportunity for an alternate. I’m about to go through this conglomeration for the third time trying to get to Charleston. Supposed to be there at 11:30am, obviously that’s not going to happen.”
Rick and other travelers were forced off I-77 northbound in Beckley at exit 48, to take US-19 north towards I-79 or back roads such as WV-612 west or US-60 west from US-19 to get towards Charleston. The backup was so massive because I-77 and I-64 traffic is combined as one toll highway between Beckley and Charleston. West Virginia Turnpike northbound lands are expected to open sometime this evening.
The truck driver was taken to the hospital with no word on his injuries. NewsWatch will keep you updated on social media and on our website when the northbound lanes open up.