Wright Brothers Boulevard in Cedar Rapids back open - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Wright Brothers Boulevard in Cedar Rapids back open

CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -- The Cedar Rapids Fire Department says Wright Brothers Boulevard is back open following a tanker rollover that caused a chemical leak.

A semi-tanker carrying more than 50,000 pounds of sodium hydroxide overturned while exiting I-380 onto Wright Brothers Boulevard Wednesday morning.

Police say the driver of the tanker, 39-year old Joe Short of Illinois, was turning left onto Wright Brothers Boulevard from the northbound I-380 ramp when the chemical inside the tanker shifted causing the trailer and the truck to turn on its side.

Short was taken to Mercy Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.  He was ticketed for Failure to Maintain Control.

A small drip of sodium hydroxide from the truck forced crews to established a 150 foot safe zone around the tanker while they cut a hole in the steel tank to create a relief valve in order to off-load the chemical. 

The truck was transporting the sodium hydroxide from Muscatine to Red Star Yeast in Cedar Rapids.

Sodium hydroxide, also known as caustic soda or lye, is colorless to white and odorless. It is used as a base in the manufacture of pulp and paper, textiles, soaps and detergents.  Sodium hydroxide is an irritant to the eyes, skin and mucous membranes.

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