AUGUSTA, Maine — The aftermath of an early morning tanker truck crash on Interstate 95 spurred traffic woes well into the evening Friday, at one point leading to a five-mile jam on the Maine Turnpike.
A northbound truck loaded with Nopcote, a liquid used in papermaking, driven by Rudy Baldeo, 39, of New Jersey overturned on its side in the breakdown lane between the Western Avenue and Civic Center Drive exits, according to Maine State Police spokesman Stephen McCausland. Much of the cargo spilled after the tank ruptured, he said.
State police believe it’s likely Baldeo, who escaped serious injury, fell asleep at the wheel.
Traffic on I-95 in the capital city was reduced to one lane throughout the day Friday after the crash.
By Friday evening, state police said the northern end of the Maine Turnpike between Gardiner and Augusta was experiencing major delays. Although both northbound lanes at the crash site were reopened Friday afternoon, the bottleneck escalated into a five-mile traffic backup.
Police didn’t expect the traffic jam to break up until after 7 p.m. and advised northbound motorists to exit the turnpike at Gardiner and work their way north along Route 201 or Route 9.
The truck involved in the accident was owned by Langer Transport Corp. in New Jersey.
The Maine Department of Environmental Protection supervised the effort to clean up chemicals spilled in the crash, which remains under investigation.