4 pm UPDATE: The scene has been cleared. Traffic flowing normally again.
NOON UPDATE: Robin Caldwell from Cherokee County Emergency Management tells WKRK that BOTH westbound lanes of Hwy 19/64/74 and 1 eastbound lane are now open to traffic. Thanks to all those who are working very hard getting this accident cleared as quickly as possible
10 am UPDATE: WKRK just spoke with Chief Deputy Joe Wood from Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office. A recovery crew is on scene transferring the fuel from the overturned tanker into another tanker. That transfer is expected to take AT LEAST another 90 minutes. After that, crews will begin bringing the truck into an upright position. That process is expected to take an hour or so. The stretch of Hwy 64 W between Rib Country and King Ford will remain closed (both directions) at least until early afternoon. Crews are working as quickly as possible to bring things back to normal. Thanks for your patience.
#MurphyNC – URGENT: A tanker truck filled with fuel has overturned on Highway 19/64/74 west of Murphy affecting travel between Murphy and Ranger. Impact to traffic flow is high.
This is a single vehicle accident and no injuries were reported.
Cherokee County Emergency Management, Murphy Fire Department, NC State Highway Patrol and Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office are among those agencies working to clear the scene.
LOCATION OF ACCIDENT: Between 2817 US 64 West and 2211 US Hwy 64 West (near Lakeside Plaza/King Ford/Rib Country in Murphy.)
All lanes (both eastbound and westbound) of the highway will be shut down between King Ford and Rib Country for a big part of the day.
No fuel has been reported as having leaked from the tanker truck. The truck was carrying a full load of fuel (9,000 gallons.)
Another tanker must travel from Augusta, Georgia so that the fuel can be transferred. All fuel must be pumped out of the tanker truck before the truck can be moved and towed. This process takes quite a while, so expect the road closure to last most of the morning and possibly into the afternoon hours.
You will need to make alternate travel plans to bypass this section road.
LOCAL TRAFFIC – Travelling to Murphy from the Ranger/Hiwassee Dam area (allow extra travel time:)
– At Grizzly Bear/Hot Spot intersection, take Hwy 19/129 South (toward Blairsville), then take a left onto Martins Creek Road (just past Bellview Home Furnishings.) Follow to end, then take a left onto Hiwassee Street. This will put you at the McDonald’s of Murphy intersection.
– Optional Detour: If travelling east on Hwy 19/64/74, take a right onto Caney Creek Road (before King Ford), then a left onto Crisp Road, then take a left onto Martins Creek Road, then a left onto Hiwassee Street. This will put you at the McDonald’s of Murphy intersection.
DETOUR FOR LARGE TRUCKS / TRACTOR-TRAILERS:
Due to the narrow, curvy local roads, truck traffic traveling eastbound should take U.S. 19/129 South to Blairsville, Ga., then U.S. 76 East to N.C. 69. That road intersects with U.S. 64, where drivers can resume their routes back to Murphy or Asheville.
Note from Cherokee County Schools: “A tanker overturned on US 74 between the Ace Hardware Building and King Ford has caused traffic to come to a complete stop. As a result Cherokee County Schools has 5 buses that will be affected. Please travel cautiously. CCS is aware this will impact travel for several staff members as well as students.”
Summary from NCDOT:
Accident in Cherokee County, West of Murphy
US-74 (US 19/64/74), Both Directions
Near SR-1304 (SR-1304)
Road Closed – Expected Impact to traffic is High
Road reports can be found at http://www.1320am.com/weather/alerts/ … click on the state’s DOT that you are interested in.
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