I-80 Reopens As Annawan Deals With Fallout

[image] The town of Annawan had a lot of traffic after a tanker truck crashed on I-80.

Travelers can once again drive on Interstate 80 in Henry County after a tanker truck crashed and spilled a chemical Thursday morning.

That caused the state police to close the highway for most of the day to get the spill cleaned up.

Officers pushed traffic off I-80 to the road I-80 replaced, Route 6, creating big-city-like traffic through Annawan's downtown, a downtown that doesn't experience that kind of traffic every day.

Karen Countryman hit traffic plenty of times Thursday. She says, "Lot of trucks, but Thursdays I think are a big day for trucks if you look on the interstate, I used to drive on the interstate for work and Mondays and Thursdays were always a lot of heavy traffic."

She's a home healthcare assistant and says all the roads were full, even the ones she thought would have provided a shortcut. "Kind of made you late a few times. I work a job where you got to be on time. I was late to a couple places," says Countryman.
The traffic caused a lot of people to be late. Many didn't choose to stop once they got going again. Driving through Annawan, they ignored the specials at the Purple Onion.

"Italian beef sandwich with fries, or we have chicken, and we have tacos, and taco salad," says server Lorraine Wancket.

She says the rush also kept many of the regulars away. They didn't dare risk parallel parking during traffic.

"They couldn't park. We have limited parking anyway, and with them so many of them going by they didn't want to chance it."

Wancket says the restaurant will survive. If anything, the traffic will give customers a new subject to discuss over coffee.

"That's probably the most traffic I've seen around here for a long, long time," says Countryman.

At least until the Annawan Fun Day Parade clogs up the street again this summer.
The truck that crashed spilled a small amount of toulene, a chemical used in gasoline and plastic production.

The state police says the spill poses no risk to public health.


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