PHOENIX -- Interstate 17 northbound has reopened in New River following an oil tanker rollover that closed the highway early this morning, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.
Both northbound lanes are open without restrictions after closing about 4 a.m. The extended closure was required to remove the tanker and for a hazardous materials crew to remove spilled oil from the road.
Southbound lanes were unaffected and remained open.
I-17 northbound closed north of New River; rolled tanker leaking oil
PHOENIX -- An oil tanker rollover has closed Interstate 17 northbound just north of New River, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.
ADOT advises drivers to expect an extended closure Thursday morning, probably into the afternoon, as crews work to remove the tanker and clean up an oil spill near Table Mesa Road. Drivers should exit in New River to minimize delays.
Drivers heading north from Phoenix to destinations such as Flagstaff should consider alternate routes such as State Route 87 through Payson or SR 89 through Prescott.
The tanker is carrying used motor oil. Several hundred gallons of that oil have spilled and the tanker continues to leak. The tanker's capacity is 7,000 gallons, but it's not clear if it was full.
The backup was miles long. Some drivers had plenty of gas and water and were prepared to wait it out. The Department of Public Safety was trying to turn some stranded drivers around so they can head back down the on ramp and get off the freeway.
There is no estimated time to reopen northbound lanes. Southbound lanes are unaffected and remain open.
3TV traffic reporter Gina Maravilla suggest people heading north go up through Payson to the Beeline Highway and then to Interstate 40.
The Payson route involves taking SR 87 from the Mesa or Fountain Hills area. About 20 miles north of Payson, drivers will turn northwest on SR 260 to return to I-17 in Camp Verde. Drivers should expect extra traffic on either of these alternate routes today due to the I-17 closure.
Another option is to go through Wickenburg and Yarnell, which is basically the "back" way into Prescott.
The Prescott route involves using US 60 from the Phoenix area to Wickenburg, where drivers will turn onto US 93 until reaching State Route 89. Once taking SR 89 into Prescott, drivers can take SR 69 to Dewey, and then SR 169 to return to I-17.
Both alternates will add significant time to your travel. Some drivers stuck at Table Mesa Road were debating whether they'd be better off waiting or turning around.
For the most current information about highway closures and restrictions statewide, visit ADOT’s Travel Information Site at www.az511.gov, follow us on Twitter (@ArizonaDOT) or call 511.
Expect the I-17 northbound closure in New River to last at least until this afternoon. Plan to use an alternate route today.— Arizona DOT (@ArizonaDOT) June 26, 2014