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Clearwater's Gulf to Bay re-opened but going still slow

CLEARWATER — The crash of an orange juice tanker truck tied up rush-hour traffic in both directions late Tuesday afternoon on Gulf to Bay Boulevard.

The westbound lanes of Gulf to Bay Boulevard between Park Place Boulevard and U.S. 19 were opened at 5:50 p.m. after the crash, but traffic in both directions still was moving slowly.

The northbound frontage lane onto U.S. 19 probably will be closed for cleanup most of the evening, Clearwater fire officials said.

Officials had closed westbound Gulf to Bay about 20 minutes to land a Bayflite helicopter after a tanker truck carrying orange juice concentrate crashed on the frontage road Tuesday afternoon.

The 49-year-old male driver was taken by helicopter to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg with injuries that did not appear to be life-threatening, said Clearwater Fire Operations Chief Richard Riley.

"He was conscious and alert the whole time," Riley said.

The man, who was not identified, had to be extricated from the truck's cab. The frontage road will remain closed so workers can pump the 4,000 gallons of liquid from the tanker and then move the truck, he said.

Authorities said they're unsure how the crash happened, but an investigation is continuing.

Clearwater's Gulf to Bay re-opened but going still slow 10/20/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 21, 2009 1:42pm]
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