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November 22, 2011

Motorists traveling the eastbound Pennsylvania Turnpike in southwestern part of the state on Tuesday night encountered a slippery tar-like substance on the roadway.

A tanker truck operated by MTS Transport LLC of Stevensville MD was transporting between 4000 and 5000 gallons of driveway sealant when a leaky valve spilled the material over a 38-mile stretch between Castle (Exit No. 10) and Allegheny Valley (Exit No. 48).

The Pennsylvania Turnpike estimates that hundreds of vehicles suffered damage, the black sealant coating tires and undercarriages. Tow trucks hauled disabled vehicles to a staging area after the goo encased their tires. Even some police and maintenance vehicles required towing.

One motorist told msnbc.com that he was afraid to stop because cars were sliding everywhere.

Road maintenance crews used sand, salt and cinders to soak up the mess then scraped it onto the side of the road using snowplows.

USA Today reports that state police will cite the driver of the tanker for not securing his load.

While the Pennsylvania Turnpike initially had affected motorist calling its operations center, a release asked that people call the trucking company’s insurer, Travelers Insurance Co., who in turn said they should contact their own insurance company first before contacting Travelers directly.

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