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.

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"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. Pete Sake

    Have to wash my car now stupid truck.

    November 23, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • us1776

      You didn't see some of the videos did you?

      Wash my a s s.

      First you have to pry your tires from the roadway.

      And then maybe 100 gallons of solvent to dissolve the 400 lbs of GOO that got on your car everywhere.


      November 23, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • calmncool

      I'll bet Pete's thought he was being funny. He probably doesn't even LIVE in PA.

      November 23, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  2. thebigman205

    Talk about a sticky situation!

    November 23, 2011 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |

    Quick...get spray bottles of kerosene.

    November 23, 2011 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • calmncool

      They need lots and lots of Dawn dishwashing liquid. Lol.

      November 23, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  4. driranek

    This Thanksgiving we can all be thankful that we're not the trucking company's insurance agent...

    November 23, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  5. conradshull

    It's amazing the number of politico-twits who are incapable of not assigning political blame for this. It's a freaky accidental leak, but not different thanany other that happens from time to time. How would the trucker know it was leaking? It was dark and raining, he can't see it and others don't know until they hit it, by which time the truck is another mile down the road. Yes, it is the trucker's responsibility to ensure all valves are closed and his load is secure, but sometimes stuff happens. The hauler's insurance company isn't going to be happy, that's for sure. And, once again, the people who ascribe political elements to this are idiot twits. I feel bad for the trucker and the drivers of the cars affected.

    November 23, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  6. bloop

    Since you say truck drivers are dumb maybe you are dumber for not knowing they don't have a rear view mirror to know what exactly is going on behind a trailer they only have side views and why don't you try taking a written test for a commercial license just to see if you are smart enough to get behind the wheel of what provides your daily household goods

    November 23, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • calmncool

      ...or try taking any test at all.

      November 23, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  7. muhrvis

    Wow, ick. Just cleaning this crap off the cars is going take hundreds or thousands of gallons of toxic solvent. What a mess. I hope they can do it without ruining the finish on the cars - or releasing a lots of solvent into the environment.

    November 23, 2011 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  8. us1776

    I like how they are cleaning this up.

    They first tried PLOWING it off the roadway. But that was too hard.

    So now they are just covering it up with sand. Oh goody. First hot day when this stuff melts through and we get to do it all over again. The Groundhog Day Solution.


    November 23, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. kris

    Glad it wasn't me, that's for sure, but people traveling from Cleveland to New Jersey couldn't find another route??

    November 23, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  10. merlin

    I'm sure they also expect us to take the hit at the bank as well freaking crooks check Ur trucks before u get in and drive I hope someone pays for this other then the drivers good kuck

    November 23, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Susan

    hahaha, Brian, you tell him...

    November 23, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |

    Fool, gear jockey sleeping or what?

    November 23, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |

    Ddooohhhh! stupid truck thingy

    November 23, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  14. PennDotdude

    Truck drivers are ignorant, uneducated goons looking for any way possible to shortcut the regulations. They speed, exceed weight limits, fail to properly inspect and cut corners all the time, just like the idiot that caused this mess. Dangerous and shameful.

    November 23, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aimee

      It's awesome how you stereotype them all. Did you know a lot of companies have governors on their vehicles only allowing the trucks to travel at a certain speed? My husband drives a truck and can only drive a max of 60 miles per hour. There are stupid drivers out there who drive recklessly but there are way more regular drivers who drive recklessly and will not hesitate to cut a truck off. Accidents happen and this wasn't necessarily the driver's fault. There is no way to possibly know when you are going to experience a malfunction of equipment.

      November 23, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Janet

    Must not have been very good sealant if it leaked all over the highway. Just sayin'...

    November 23, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
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