A big rig overturned late Friday afternoon on state Route 243 just north of Mountain Center, spilling a large amount of diesel fuel and bringing traffic to a standstill on the two-lane mountain corridor.
The crash happened about 5 p.m. near the junction for Highway 74, according to the California Highway Patrol. Riverside County Fire Department crews reached the location within a few minutes and discovered one of the saddle tanks on the jackknifed semi had been punctured, leaking roughly 40 gallons of diesel onto the highway.
A hazardous materials unit was called to mop up the mess, according to the fire department.
The north- and southbound lanes of Route 243 were shut down because of the crash, stalling traffic into Idyllwild to the north and Mountain Center to the south, the CHP reported.
The 30-mile highway was hit hard by the Feb. 14 storm that caused major damage to infrastructure countywide. The northern segment of the 243 between Lake Fulmor and Banning remains entirely shut down for repairs, slated for completion next month.
It was unclear when the crash-related closure would be lifted Friday evening.
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