ROUTT COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) — One lane of traffic over Rabbit Ears Pass is open at this hour following an afternoon-long closure of road due to a tractor-trailer accident.
The westbound vehicle crossed into eastbound lanes and left the roadway shortly after reaching the top of the pass and rolled approximately 75 feet down the hillside, according to a spokesperson with the Routt County Office of Emergency Management. The cab came to rest on its roof against some trees.
The driver was the only person on board and was taken to UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center. That driver’s medical condition was not available, but the driver did relay information about the contents of his load to first responders.
The wrecked box trailer contained approximately 38,000 pounds of methanol.
Methanol is a toxic form of alcohol that is flammable and often used as a type of fuel.
Out of caution, residents within a half mile of the crash were temporarily evacuated. Eighty eight homes were affected. Those residents have been allowed to return home now.
Hazardous materials personnel determined most of the methanol either evaporated or soaked into the ground. An assessment team will begin clean-up operations once the truck’s wreckage is recovered and hauled away, Routt County Emergency Management Specialist Cheryl Dalton told CBS4.
The crash happened at about 12:25 p.m. and caused a seven-mile stretch of Highway 40, starting at the east summit and extending west, to be shut down until 6:15 p.m.