The driver of a tanker truck that spilled thousands of gallons of gasoline Monday near the Interstate 10 bridge at Port Allen had a suspended driver's license, authorities said.
Environmental crews continued to work Tuesday to clean up the area while limits were placed on access to the Port of Greater Baton Rouge.
Robert Marionneaux, the port's spokesman, said closing half of the port's access routes has caused some disruptions. "For the guys who are driving 18-wheelers, it’s a challenge," he said. "But it could be much worse."
The wreck happened after the truck rolled onto the guardrail on the ramp leading to the I-10 bridge over the Mississippi River about 7:30 p.m. Monday, according to Port Allen Police. Traffic cameras showed the rig precariously leaning against the rail before emergency crews removed it six hours later.
Brandon Mitchell, a 30-year-old driver for Haul of Fame Transport, a petroleum transportation company in Hammond, entered the ramp off south La. 1 when the truck tipped while going over the curved road. Police said they suspect his speed likely played a role in the wreck.
Mitchell didn't have a valid driver's license at the time of the crash, and officers cited him for careless operation and driving with a suspended license, Port Allen Police Chief Esdron Brown said.
Mitchell wasn't injured in the crash, Brown said, adding that first responders had helped him out of the truck's passenger side.
Haul of Fame Transport didn't return a message seeking comment Tuesday.
The crash caused the truck to leak several thousand gallons of gasoline that gushed into culverts and onto the ground below, which will require crews to remove much of the gas-soaked soil and replace it, according to the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality.
Testing didn't detect any harmful chemicals in the air, a DEQ spokeswoman said.
Crews moved the truck off the ramp, which was not seriously damaged, and reopened it early Tuesday morning, but authorities restricted access to the Port of Greater Baton Rouge, one of the largest cargo ports in the country, to only two entrances.
Authorities closed roads to the port off South La. 1 and another road from I-10 West. Drivers can still access to the port from eastbound I-10 and North La. 1.
Port Allen Mayor Richard Lee said recovery efforts might take up to two days while DEQ agents continued monitoring and repairing the area.
Officials say clean-up efforts in West Baton Rouge might take up to two days after a tanker truck overturned on the La. 1 southbound ramp Mond…
The Department of Transportation noted minimal congestion in the area Tuesday afternoon.
Lee said the last time a truck tipped on the ramp was a decade ago when a commercial truck tipped over and burst into flames. That crash required the ramp to be rebuilt and led to a lengthy closure in an area prone to backups and traffic snarls.
"Those truckers gotta be careful when they're carrying something like that, those liquids that are flammable," Brown said. "If you’re coming around the curve, you gotta be extra careful."