A jack-knifed semi carrying flammable chemicals closed down and blocked portions of I-270 near Hilliard for nine hours on May 23.

A jack-knifed semi carrying flammable chemicals closed down and blocked portions of I-270 near Hilliard for nine hours on May 23.

The truck slid off the interstate west of Roberts Road around 8:15 a.m., possibly due to the rain, and overturned on its side. By 8:45 a.m., Hilliard Police had issued an alert that the freeway was "closed due to a hazardous tanker spill."

The driver of the rig was not injured. No other vehicles were involved.

The truck was carrying a 6,000-gallon tank containing 1,000 gallons of alpha-methylstyrene (AMS), which brought out the hazardous materials team from the Columbus Division of Fire. AMS is a colorless, fast-burning chemical used to make plastics. It can cause skin, eye, nose and throat irritation and drowsiness if one comes in contact with it.

"There was a small leak, but they were able to contain it," said Norwich Township Fire Chief David Long, whose staff was on the scene to help support the effort. In terms of the jurisdiction of the accident, Long said, "It was actually in Columbus."

I-270 northbound was closed from Roberts Road to Cemetery Road, and I-270 southbound was closed from Tuttle Crossing Boulevard to Roberts Road for much of the day.

The crash turned the morning rush hour into a parking lot, with cars forced to turn around on the freeway. At one point, ramps from U.S. 33 to I-270 South, I-70 West to I-270 North, Tuttle Crossing to I-270 South, Cemetery Road to I-270 South, and Roberts Road to I-270 North and I-270 South were all closed. Motorists were advised to take U.S. 33 or state Route 315.

At 3:30 p.m. that afternoon, Ohio Department of Transportation spokesman David Rose said local law enforcement and emergency agencies "were still cleaning up and trying to get the lanes open for rush hour." By 5:30 p.m., I-270 was open in both directions.

Hilliard Police Chief Doug Francis summed up the mess that night during the city council meeting when he said, "There was not a lot of joy out there."