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UPDATE: Highway 99 onramp in Elk Grove reopened, big-rig crash site cleared

An Elk Grove intersection and southbound Highway 99 onramp have reopened following an approximately eight-hour closure after a truck hauling liquid nitrogen overturned early Tuesday afternoon.

The Cosumnes Fire Department announced at 9 p.m. that the liquid nitrogen had been offloaded and the truck towed, allowing the Sheldon Road-West Stockton Boulevard intersection and the onramp to southbound Highway 99 to reopen to traffic.

Mike McLaughlin, deputy chief of the Cosumnes Fire Department, said the accident occurred about 12:46 p.m. when the driver of big rig westbound on Sheldon Road was making a left turn onto the southbound Highway 99 onramp. As the driver was making the turn, the big rig overturned coming to rest on its side. The driver was able to get out of the truck without injury, McLaughlin said.

The liquid nitrogen in the tank posed no threat to the public, McLaughlin said, noting that nitrogen makes up 78 percent of the the earth’s atmosphere. The only concern involved the state of the nitrogen, a cryogenic gas, which was being transported under pressure. McLaughlin said there was a small leak from a valve.

The Sacramento Fire Department’s hazardous material team responded and personnel with private firms that specialize in cryogenic gases were summoned to advise the fire crews on the best way to offload the liquid nitrogen. It was determined that a controlled release, or venting, was the best method. The process created a small vapor cloud when the liquid nitrogen contacted moisture in the air.

Call The Bee’s Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

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