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. rooney

    CTYank@3:14 While I don't agree with you, your post made me laugh for like five minutes straight. Thankyou 🙂

    November 23, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. madmax6

    obviously most of you know nothing of the trucking industry. im not a driver, nor will i ever be but if a trailer is leaking regaudless of what the material is the driver cant see it, even if it were glowing neon green. YOU CANNOT SEE DIRECTLY BEHIND YOU IN A SEMI TRUCK AND TRAILER (ever notice the warnings on trailers about blind spots, theres a good reason they are called blind). and think about it for a second, if there was a form of monitoring sensor, that gooey stuff would stick to the sensor and would give a false reading and always say full, even if it were empty. and ive worked for companies that have had far worse disasters than this and their insurance never dropped them. whenever a company with 200+ trucks gets shut down (for instance, insurance dropped them) it really affects our cities, states and even our country. without trucks America stops. food, building supplies, and medicine to name a few will cease to be there on the shelves when you need them.

    November 23, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  3. kim

    A black Thanksgiving on the rodes

    November 23, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Chris

    It kind of reminds me of Spy Hunter with the oil slick...

    November 23, 2011 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
  5. pryor

    If it was white goo, the cops could meet Sandusky back at his house.

    November 23, 2011 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • yuko

      I thought the exact same thing !

      November 24, 2011 at 8:28 am | Report abuse |
  6. H. Lechter

    This is Bush and Cheney's fault.

    November 23, 2011 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tommy Bones

      I agree!!

      November 24, 2011 at 12:14 am | Report abuse |
    • glenn robert

      Bush and Cheney have enough to answer for!

      November 24, 2011 at 3:14 am | Report abuse |
    • cigarman

      No, It is Obamas fault just like the war in Iraq, and Afghanistan is Obamas fault. Obama himself should have been following that tanker to be sure that it sprang no leaks. It is Obamas fault that this nation cut taxes for the rich and now the country has no money. It is obamas fault that taxes were raised eleven times when Reagan was in office. Obamas fault that millions of Illegals were granted Amnesty During Reagans Presidency. Everything is OBAMAS fault.

      November 24, 2011 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
  7. Angela

    BLACK FRIDAY comes 3 days early this year. . .

    November 23, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jacintha

    That's just another reason why I stay off the roads during the holidays...

    November 23, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
  9. heather

    Trucks that carry liquid don't have a gauge that tells them the pressure in tbe tank is dropping or the weight of the liquid is dropping? It sounds like a super cheap safety device that insurance vompanies would require. I have an alarm on my fish tank that goes off if the water level drops- in case of a leak. We are not talking about space-aged technology. It is not like a truck has never sprung a leak before.

    November 23, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Roadsniper

    Thers nothing wrong with the trailer. We need trailers just like that out here in california to fix the roads that would be nice!!!! Does this company have any more leaky trailers to send out this way

    November 23, 2011 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Laura

    Well, the driver should obviously hang because it was intentional, right? Geez, get a grip. It was unfortunate. Period. Also, the problem occurred much closer to Cleveland than NJ. The person who said they were closer to NJ than Cleveland clearly didn't know what he was talking about. I think he's not the loner here. People are so judgmental. Do something important like OWS, not comment on goo: right, CLEARLY a pick-one sitaution. Like bacon or sausage? at Denny's. (PS... You can get both, but tell 'em I told you!)

    November 24, 2011 at 1:19 am | Report abuse |
  12. george lewis

    mexicans do not like turkey anyway. They call it guajolote...would you eat something that sounds like guajolote???

    November 24, 2011 at 1:54 am | Report abuse |
  13. Bad_Conduct

    Hmm... Keystone XL isn't looking that great.

    November 24, 2011 at 2:21 am | Report abuse |
  14. mcwhiiteys1

    When will all this black crime stop?

    November 24, 2011 at 2:43 am | Report abuse |
  15. mark

    man that's terrible, i once turned onto a street THAT HAD NO SIGNS POSTED yet about any work being done, although there were people working further down the road and drove right onto the stuff with my 2 week old 20" chrome rims and brand new tires. what a mess and it never fully cleaned up. the stuff is terrible.

    November 24, 2011 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
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