PORT RICHEY — Up to 50 gallons of diesel fuel was spilled Friday morning on U.S. 19, creating a mess that temporarily closed two lanes of traffic.
The spill originally centered around the intersection of Ridge Road and U.S. 19, but cars tracked the fuel north toward Gulfview Square mall and south into Pinellas County, said Emergency Management operations coordinator Jim Johnston.
Crews shut down two southbound lanes of U.S. 19 near Ridge Road for more than an hour while hazardous materials workers sopped up 8 to 10 gallons. But Johnston estimated another 20 to 40 gallons might remain strewn across the highway.
He cautioned cars driving through the area to be careful of the diesel still on the road.
"When you start spreading oil on a road, it makes a really big mess really fast, especially when cars are running through it," he said. "You can't get it off."
But because it has spread so thin, the fuel will have a minimal impact, he said.
The truck that spilled the fuel has not been found. Johnston said he believes it is somewhere south of the spill.