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Overturned fuel tanker fire closes Montrose Road [Updated]

Update (1:35 p.m.): Charlie Gischlar, a spokesman for the Maryland State Highway Administration,|http://www.marylandroads.com/Home.aspx said Thursday afternoon that the only part of the roadway that is open is the southbound I-270 ramp to westbound Montrose Road.

He said inspectors found that about 200 feet of the roadway is damaged and needs to be repaved.

"It scarred pretty bad," Gischlar said.

Work will begin as soon as possible, he said.

Gischlar said the contractor will remove about two or three inches from the top of the damaged roadway Thursday. Repaving will be done Friday.

There will be lane closures, Gischlar said.

"It may go into rush hour a bit," Gischlar said. "Motorists should plan on delays and stick with alternate routes."

Update (11:30 a.m.): Want to check out what's happening on Montrose Road? You can watch the action via traffic camera on our traffic page. Check out the I-270 and Montrose Road camera.

Update (10:15 a.m.): Traffic cameras show that Montrose Road remains closed in both directions with emergency officials still on the scene. Montgomery County Assistant Chief Scott Graham told WTOP this morning that inspectors will have to examine the road where the fire occurred and "check the integrity of the bridge" over I-270. Graham told WTOP that the evaluation will take "most of the morning, at a minimum."

6:45 A.M. UPDATE:
All I-270 lanes have reopened in both directions, the Montgomery County Police report. Montrose Road itself remains closed between Seven Locks Road and Tower Oaks Boulevard (and the I-270 ramps to Montrose Road remain closed, obviously). They still don't have an estimate on when Montrose Road will reopen (the road is still covered in the foam used to douse the fire).

Montrose Road will remain closed for at least a few hours -- definitely through the morning rush, and likely beyond that. (A look at the traffic camera closest to the site of the fire shows that the road is still smoking.) And the county police confirm that the truck driver was not injured in the accident.

Traffic in the surrounding areas is snarling as more and more cars take the road this morning. Traffic cameras show huge backups at the intersection of Rockville Pike (MD 355) and Montgomery Ave/Jefferson Street (MD 28). The southbound traffic on I-270 is seeing big, big delays, but they're cleared up by the time you get past Tuckerman Lane.

ORIGINAL POST:
A fuel tanker overturned shortly before 4:45 a.m. this morning, and the ensuing fire has closed multiple key roads in Rockville just before the morning rush hour begins.

The tanker overturned and caught fire on Montrose Road atop I-270, according to the Montgomery County Police Department. Montrose Road is closed eastbound at Farm Haven Drive and westbound at Seven Locks Road. All lanes of I-270 Northbound are shut, because that's the side of the bridge the truck is on. (Southbound lanes were closed earlier, but have since reopened, the Maryland State Police said.)

Police and fire officials are on the scene. They have no idea when the lanes might reopen to traffic; a bridge inspector is heading there, because that's a lot of heat to put on a bridge, an official with the county police said.

Possible alternate routes: If you'd normally take 270, your best bet might be the Rockville Pike, though admittedly it'll be a slow, slow trek. If you'd take Montrose Road, you could head north to Wooton Road or south to Tuckerman Lane, but again, expect delays and increased traffic.

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By Mark Berman  |  January 14, 2010; 5:51 AM ET
Categories:  Advisories  
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