Black goo disables hundreds of vehicles on Pennsylvania Turnpike
The black good affected hundreds of cars on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
November 23rd, 2011
10:10 AM ET

Black goo disables hundreds of vehicles on Pennsylvania Turnpike

If you hear about a sticky Thanksgiving travel mess, images of crowded airport security lines and jammed freeway interchanges probably come to mind. Your car sitting on the freeway in a mass of a black goo probably isn't what you think of.

But that's exactly what drivers on the Pennsylvania Turnpike faced Tuesday night after a tanker truck carrying driveway sealant sprang a leak and spread the goo over a 37-mile stretch of highway.

"This is Thanksgiving. Now we have to turn around and go back home," Laura Frick, who was traveling from Cleveland to New Jersey for the holiday, told CNN affiliate WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh. "It's horrible."

The tar-like sealant was spilled in the turnpikes eastbound lanes between the New Castle and Allegheny Valley exits in western Pennsylvania, according to the turnpike's website. The truck's driver noticed the leak when he stopped at the Oakmont travel plaza, according to the WTAE report.

About 200 vehicles were damaged by the sealant, some to the point that they could no longer move, according to a report in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Some drivers said the numbers were even higher.

[cnn-video url="http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2011/11/23/von-turnpike-goo.wpxi"%5D

"Our car is disabled, along with about 300 others," Ken Miller, of Dearborn Heights, Michigan, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "Our (sport utility vehicle) is wobbling like I'm driving on four flat tires."

"We got on the turnpike and we noticed all these cars pulled over and our car was driving rough, and it was like it was going in to a flat," Lynn Snitzer told WTAE.

"I began hearing something rough hitting under me. I pulled off to the side of the road with about 20 other cars. Everybody thought they had flat tires. Then I reached under my wheel well and saw black stuff all over my hand. It was literally running down the sidewall and puddling on the ground," driver Tom Jungling of Hampton, Pennsylvania, told the Tribune-Review.
Repairs will likely be costly, tow truck driver Tony Armenti told WTAE.

"That tire's gonna have to be replaced. The rim's gonna have to be replaced, and the rest is gonna have to be taken off," he said looking at one vehicle.

The mess was a headache for highway crews, too.

"Initially, they were literally trying to plow this material off the roadway, and they did that to a point, but most recently they've moved to just putting down sand," WTAE quoted turnpike spokesman Bill Capone as saying.

Capone said affected motorists could contact the turnpike commission for help with insurance claims, according to the media reports.

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Filed under: Holidays • Pennsylvania • Thanksgiving • Travel
soundoff (265 Responses)
  1. davenport

    unacceptable. a class action lawsuit should be filed against the irresponsible trucking company that caused the mess.

    November 23, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Why class-action? The only people who benefit in those is the lawyers. I cannot understand why everyone thinks "class-action" is some good thing... it is not.

      November 23, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Ca Ed

      your right about the lawyers.

      Go out, get a new car and sue the trucking company real fast before they declare bankruptcy.
      (Make sure they have insurance before getting the new car)

      November 23, 2011 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  2. THE ONE AND ONLY DRAKOREX1

    EEEEEEWWWWW BLACK GOO!

    November 23, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • GRofPA

      now that's a comment worthy of this story

      November 23, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  3. Bill

    I was on the NE Extension in PA heading north last summer when I noticed a smell of fuel. Turns out it was the semi a few hundred yards ahead had sprung a leak in his fuel tank and was spraying a trail of fuel in both lanes for several miles. Took a few minutes to get ahead of him. Tried to get his attention but he was obvlivious to the situation. Maybe it was the same driver...Had my two kids in the car. Could that have ignighted? Either way, the fumes couldn't have been good for the little ones.

    November 23, 2011 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
    • GRofPA

      a lit match might have got his attention

      November 23, 2011 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Ca Ed

      Unfortunately, gas haulers are reluctant to pull over since they are a favorite target of hijackers.

      Call 911 and let them handle it.
      Give a description, license and location of the truck.

      November 23, 2011 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
    • tom

      It is very difficult to ignite diesel fuel, so the fire potential was low. However, it is a very slippery product, so traction could easily have been compromised. Best advice is to call 911 and inform the authorities.

      November 23, 2011 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike in Pekin

      @ GRofPA – OWS are not 'Working Class" – That implies that they are responsible enough to hold a job. If they were, they would be working, not camping out in the streets, defecating on sidewalks. They are the "whiner class".

      November 23, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • GRofPA

      Mike – they are not fortunate or priveleged enough to have a job. Get your head out of that dark place between you buttocks. Idiot.

      November 23, 2011 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      Diesel is very tough to ignite. You can drop matches into it and it will extinguish them like dropping them into water. That's why fuel lines and fuel tanks on trucks are not nearly as tightly controlled as gasoline. So no, no risk there, but still that's concerning.

      November 23, 2011 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Big Dog

      Gasoline is pretty difficult to ignite as well, it's the fumes which are highly combustable.

      November 23, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. GRofPA

    Do you guys really have nothing better to do than post mundane comments about this story. Does anyone care what you think about goo spilled on a highway? There are more important things going on in the world – get involved in those discussions – make difference – maybe go out and join/support the OWS folks.

    November 23, 2011 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Chessylenord

      Join OWS! Are you kidding me. Bunch of LOOOSSSEERRRS

      November 23, 2011 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
    • GRofPA

      you're right – commenting ongoo is certainly a more worthy endeavor than actually going out and trying to stand up for the working class's quality of life. Idiot.

      November 23, 2011 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
    • kake79

      *LMAO* You really think those occupiers are going to accomplish anything? They don't even know what they want! Come back and see me when you and your friends have clearly laid out complaints and how you wish them to be addressed by our government and/or Wall St and I'll consider supporting you.

      November 23, 2011 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
    • usmc1

      go out and put a boot to those hippies

      November 23, 2011 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
    • GRofPA

      Kake – they are accomplishing much much more than you.

      November 23, 2011 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Ca Ed

      GR0fPA –
      Not really
      However, if my (and others) mundane comments pi$$es you off, then my day is off to a good start.

      Thanks 🙂

      November 23, 2011 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
    • OldGoat

      – make difference – maybe go out and join/support the OWS folks.

      Why would any responsible person do something like that. The best way to make a difference with those people is to kick their a**es off the sidewalk and send them back to mommy and daddy.

      November 23, 2011 at 11:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Moli

      OWS is an annoyance, they block and disturb people going to work. This has been going on for what at least a month now? I am part of the alleged 99%, I get up every morning while it is still dark out and come home after the sun has gone down again. I do not complain nor do I fault the persons with more money than myself. I do not expect ANYONE to take care of myself or my family...that is our responsibility. I do not think the 1% should pay more in taxes I think there should be a flat tax rate...period. The minimum wage worker SHOULD pay the same percentage as a millionaire. Note I am saying percentage not dollar amount.

      November 23, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ca Ed

    Oh boy, somebody just got his name on a list.

    Hopefully, it was the boss, his son/daughter or favorite nephew/niece.

    Anybody else is going to unemployed over the holidays (unless they are union)

    November 23, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  6. Portland tony

    Like lemmings on their way to the sea. Drivers couldn't see the stuff, smell the stuff or feel the stuff? Amazing Sealant.

    November 23, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  7. Steve

    "Capone said affected motorists could contact the turnpike commission for help with insurance claims, according to the media reports."
    You mean this won't be filed under the trucking company's insurance? What a sham! All repairs should be billed to the trucking company/truck driver that caused the mess IMO.

    November 23, 2011 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
    • RCLM

      The trucking company's insurance will pay. The turnpike commission is just trying to help the motorists.

      November 23, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Unplugged

      I'm sure that the Penn Department is just acting as a clearing house for the trucking company's insurance carrier. No need to worry.

      November 23, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Grumpster

    I saw this happen once in Wisconsin on US Hwy 151. Must have been oil or something that left a 3-6" wide track for nearly 30 miles. My guess is that the tank finally ran out since it just came to a dribble, then nothing. Probably in that case, the valve either broke or vibrated open.

    November 23, 2011 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  9. JFWilder

    I guess that stretch of road won't have any cracks in it for some time to come.

    November 23, 2011 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  10. F-IRRESPONSIBLE PEOPLE

    I would've dragged the driver out and make him swallow the goo. What the heck? That's what I was wondering, if there is a debris on the freeway then the debris caused damages to your car, who is responsible? Also, if someone spill bunch of NAILS on the freeway and as a result disabling other cars, who is going to pay for damages? So if someone spill FUEL on the freeway and I have kids inhaling these fumes WHO THE F- IS GOING TO PAY FOR MY KIDS HEALTH COST? NO ONE. This is UNJUST. SOMETHING NEEDS TO BE DONE AGAINST THESE STUPID IDIOTIC CALL IT AN ACCIDENT OR WHATEVER, the truth is that it hurts other people and it cost other people money.

    November 23, 2011 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • GRofPA

      good thing we did away with those "job killing" safety regulations.

      November 23, 2011 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  11. Jeepers

    I smell a very big lawsuit.

    November 23, 2011 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeepers

      Smells like driveway sealant.

      November 23, 2011 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  12. GRofPA

    The driver is just a working class grunt – just like most of us. The fault most likely lies with the 1% who owns the trucking company and saved a buck by not maintaining his trucks regardless of the risk to public safety. Also with the lawmakers who roll back "job killing" regulations requiring those inspections. This is what OWS is all about – get your heads out of the sand and support those who are trying to make a difference, rather than posting meaningless drivel about goo.

    November 23, 2011 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
    • OldGoat

      Have you ever considered using OWS as a suppository? You seem to be in love with those losers.

      November 23, 2011 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  13. haroldus maximus supramus

    GOP hoax, it was only a joke.

    November 23, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  14. Ca Ed

    I thought these guy only inconvenienced people in malls and other parking lots.

    Didn't realize the screwed with the highways too.
    When are the going to re-stripe the road?

    November 23, 2011 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
    • GRofPA

      As soon as Obama gets re-elected and Dems regain control so we can actually pay them to do it, rather than paying for unnecessary wars, tax breaks for oil barons, and other republican favorites.

      November 23, 2011 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  15. George K

    wow what a mess , so glad i didn't get stuck in that , my heart goes out to the families that will miss thankgiving get togethers. :/

    November 23, 2011 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
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