Big Rig Splits in Half During Wreck

Amazingly no one was hurt in a wreck that left a tractor-trailer split in half along the Schuylkill Expressway (I-76 West) late last night. The crash caused more than 15 hours of lane closures.

Officials say a tractor trailer crashed into a concrete barrier around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, causing the vehicle to split in half. The crash also caused a piece of the concrete barrier to fall off the highway, landing on the railroad tracks below.

No one was injured but the damage was done to the roadway..

The truck was carrying shortening, or fat that's used to make pastries (think Crisco), according to state police. Some of the shortening spilled onto the road during the crash.

I-76 West was shutdown at the 30th Street Exit at Walnut Street (that's before you go under the roadway after the South Street Bridge) for much of the overnight hours until I-676. Crews could be seen clearing the scene one shovel full of shortening at a time.

The slippery nature of the shortening caused a challenge for cleanup crews, according to PennDOT spokesman Eugene Blaum.

"It's a very unusal substance to have spill onto the pavement, it's very slippery, it's bonded to the pavement," Blaum said.

Crews used sand, salt and water to try and clear the highway.

The roadway remained closed as morning commuters began their trips to work. All lanes reopened Wednesday afternoon.

The exact cause of the wreck is under investigation.

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