I-59 Shutdown Affects Motorists, Businesses - WHLT 22 Connecting the Pine Belt

I-59 Shutdown Affects Motorists, Businesses

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HATTIESBURG, Miss. - It's been a hectic day for drivers in Hattiesburg.

Parts of Interstate 59 were shutdown due to a truck that overturned last night.

It happened near mile marker 60 under the Highway 11 bridge on I-59.

Dale Townsend from Jackson says he was traveling to Alabama, but the road closure caused a big delay in his trip.

"Probably an hour and a half," he said. "We got off  at 49 and traffic was jut backed up and we've been in traffic all the way to the Hardy Street exit and we are still in traffic."

"I got to go another way," said DJ Russell, a driver.

Officials say it has taken a long time to clean up the scene because the truck that overturned under the highway 11 bridge spilled a hazardous chemical, acrylonitrile.

"It's a very flammable chemical that is kind of like cyanide, if it gets on skin contact or is inhaled, it's very potent," said Hattiesburg Battalion Chief Brady Ingram.

The interstate was initially shutdown from exits 59 to 65. Experts tested the air to make sure everything was safe.

"The test were negative of anything airborne so it's contained to the vessel," he said.

Businesses near the interstate says the accident has taken away their customers.

"I have never seen it this slow since I've been here," said General Manager of Highway 11's Huddle House, Antwane Amos. "I usually get about $500  an hour, but today were about at $75."

At last check all lanes were back open except the northbound lane near exit 60.

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