Police: Cleanup not ‘a taxpayer burden’

By By Johnathan Manning / American Press

Authorities had to bring in heavy equipment to match the heavy load that overturned on Interstate 10 West less than a mile from the Texas border over

the weekend, a state police spokesman said.

The load, a 115,000-pound heat exchanger, overturned Saturday, but it wasn’t removed until Sunday — after authorities brought

in a heavy-duty wrecker and a 600-ton crane, said Sgt. James Anderson.

Costs to clean up displaced loads and chemical spills are borne by the companies that own the trucks involved and aren’t “a

taxpayer burden,” he said. The truck in this case belongs to Ace Heavy Haul of Mooresville, N.C., Anderson said.

State police and the Department of Transportation and Development oversaw the operation, he said.

The truck driver, who was wearing a seatbelt, was taken to a local hospital with moderate injuries, Anderson said. Officials

don’t believe he was impaired, and the cause of the crash is under investigation, he said.

The wreck rolled off the road, which didn’t appear to be damaged, but authorities had to close I-10 while workers removed

the heat exchanger, Anderson said.

“We did it early on a Sunday morning because we wanted to minimize the disruption of traffic,” he said.

Drivers were diverted north on La. 109 and west on La. 12, and traffic was backed up at least four miles, with a couple traffic

accidents occurring on La. 109, Anderson said.

Authorities expected the closure to run 12-14 hours, but cleanup was done in eight, he said.

Troopers had not planned to halt eastbound traffic, but were forced to do so for 30-45 minutes because the crane had to swing

the heat exchanger over the I-10 East lanes.

Anderson said the last cleanup of this magnitude he remembers involved a truck carrying a 112,000-pound beam that tipped over

near the I-210-I-10 junction near Sulphur. A special part had to be brought in from Alabama to pick up the beam, he said.

“Our goal is to clear the scene as quickly as possible and minimize disruption,” Anderson said.

“We frequently get suggestions on how it could have been done better. But we have people with years and years of experience

that make decisions based on that experience to cause a minimal amount of inconvenience to the motoring public.”