Delays on Route 1 expected to continue during cleanup of the fuel spilled after the tanker truck collision with a van near Townsend.

Update: 4:30 p.m.

It is estimated that northbound Route 1 will be opened at 4:30 p.m. barring any unforeseen circumstances.

Southbound will reopen on a limited basis about 2 hours later once all of the debris has been cleared. There may be lane restrictions over the next few days as cleanup continues.

Update: 2:45 p.m.

The Delaware Department of Transportation has reported that as of 2:45 p.m., both directions of Route 1 remain closed to all traffic between Smyrna and the Middletown-Odessa area because of this morning’s overturned fuel tanker truck.

The closing is expected to continue through the evening rush hour.

DelDOT said the crash requires a significant hazardous materials cleanup because the tanker was carrying an estimated 8,500 gallons of fuel which has leaked into ditches on both the north and south sides of the roadway.

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) is coordinating the cleanup effort.

The remaining fuel on the damaged tanker is being pumped out and is expected to be completed in the next hour. Once the fuel has been removed, the entire truck can be cleared from the roadway and environmental remediation work can begin to remove the contamination from the areas surrounding the roadway. The process to remove the remaining fuel has required extreme caution and a significant amount of time.

Both directions will remain closed into the evening hours and will impact the evening rush hour. Motorists should follow posted detours to US 13 and other alternative routes. Signal timing adjustments have been made on US 13 to accommodate the increased traffic.

Motorists may adjust their routes or travel times by using DelDOT’s Smartphone application. The DelDOT App is available for Apple & Android smart phones and tablets, and can be downloaded free, search for “DelDOT” at the Apple and Google Play stores. With the DelDOT App you can view real time traffic cameras, travel times, delays, advisories, DART’s Real-Time Transit Information, and also listen to WTMC 1380 AM.

Update: 12:45 p.m.

The Townsend Fire Company was dispatched to a motor vehicle collision on State Route 1 south of Townsend. They arrived to find a tractor-trailer carrying gasoline overturned down an embankment on the southbound side of the road. The driver had been removed by passersby and taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

As of 12:45 p.m., the leak in the tanker had been slowed significantly, said Tucker Dempsey of the Delaware Fire School.

DNREC has pumped much of the remaining gasoline off of the tanker, but that operation is expected to continue for some time, Dempsey said. Foam has been applied to suppress the vapors from the gasoline to limit the chance of them catching fire.

The water tanker operation has been cut back and most of those units have been returned to their stations, he said. Area fire stations continue to be covered by crews from other companies to ensure adequate coverage in case of other emergencies. Steps also have been taken to protect the local watershed.

Route 1 remains closed in both directions between Route 299 (Middletown Odessa Road) and the North Smyrna exit.  The public can expect significant delays for an extended period of time in the area between Townsend and Smyrna.


A fuel tanker truck crash has caused the closure of Route 1 northbound and southbound between Smyrna and the Middletown-Odessa area.

DelDOT has reported that Route 1 northbound is closed at north Smyrna exit 119, and Route 1 southbound is closed at Route 299 in Middletown. DelDOT is advising drivers in the area to take U.S. Route 13 to their destination.

Because of the hazardous material cleanup, this will be an extended closure in both directions, DelDOT said.

Delaware State Police continue to investigate the crash which happened on Route 1 near New Discovery Road at about 8:21 a.m.

The driver of the truck was flown to the Christiana Hospital by a state police helicopter with serious injuries, said Master Cpl. Michael Austin.

Road closures of up to 12 hours are possible, Austin said.

The Townsend Fire Company was dispatched to the crash on Route 1 south of Townsend. 

Firefighters found a tractor-trailer carrying gasoline overturned on an embankment on the southbound side of the road. The driver had been removed by passing drivers before he was flown to the hospital by a state police helicopter.

The tanker is leaking and the emergency personnel are taking actions to isolate and contain the leak, said Tucker Dempsey, senior instructor at the Delaware State Fire School.

Along with the Delaware State Fire School, Delaware State Police, DelDOT and the Townsend Fire Company, assistance at the crash has been provided by DNREC, New Castle County Emergency Management, Delaware City Refinery, and fire companies from Delaware and Cecil County, Maryland.

DelDOT’s Transportation Management Center and WTMC-1380 AM provide drivers real-time traffic conditions throughout the state. Drivers can contact the TMC 24/7 to report any travel or traffic-related issues at the following numbers: Dial #77 from any cell phone in Delaware; (302) 659-4600; or 1-800-324-8379.