Traffic nightmare: Why did it take so long to clear 5-vehicle crash on I-95?

Accident on southbound I-95 in St. Johns County backed up traffic for hours

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – A five-vehicle crash involving a semitractor-trailer backed up traffic on southbound Interstate 95 in St. Johns County for about eight hours Tuesday.

The traffic nightmare had many wondering why the crash, which was reported about noon near County Road 210, took so long to clear.

News4Jax learned Wednesday that the accident also involved an oil spill, which slowed down drivers and the crews coming to clean it up. 

The jackknifed cab and flatbed trailer stretched across the interstate and 60 gallons of oil were spilled on the road, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

The jackknifed cab and flatbed trailer were removed by 3:30 p.m., but the lanes remain blocked while Florida Department of Transportation crews waited for a load of sand that was used to absorb spilled fuel.

Southbound traffic was backed up to I-295 in Jacksonville with only one lane open. Many people sounded off on social media. 

"I got stuck in the diverted traffic on San Jose Boulevard for about 45 minutes. What a mess," Andrea M. wrote on Facebook.

Ron Tittle, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation said, the hours-long traffic backup had many challenges. 

"It takes a bit of time ... when dealing with ecological issues like that, environmental, then you want to make sure you are doing the right thing," Tittle said.

Tittle said the logistic challenges included:

  • Moisture absorption materials from the oil spill had to be cleaned up.
  • Crews coming to the help clean up the mess were stuck in traffic, too.
  • The oil spill had to be cleaned up and the road had to dry before traffic could resume. 
  • The road then had to be tested to make sure it was safe to drive on.  

The cause of the accident is under investigation. It was a traffic delay that drivers hope never happens again. 

State troopers were at the crash for 4 hours 36 minutes. 

According to the Department of Transportation, it was working on that crash from 12:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. 

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