A stretch of Highway 114 in Southlake was closed for almost three hours on Tuesday morning as crews cleaned up several items of medical waste that were found spilled in the road, with no explanation.
The field of debris was on the eastbound highway between White Chapel Boulevard and Carroll Avenue, the Southlake Department of Public Safety announced on Twitter at 9:05 a.m. Someone had lost, or dumped, bags of contaminated items such as used syringes and used gloves, DPS said in the tweet. A photo from the agency shows the grass along the highway filled with packing peanuts, blue bags and pieces of mangled cardboard and plastic.
In another photo tweeted later in the morning, a long tube lies tangled on the ground, with what appears to be dried blood on the outside.
Officer Brad Uptmore, a spokesman for Southlake DPS, said the agency believes the items fell off a truck “but the DOT cameras are live cameras and don’t retain footage.”
“Right now Southlake Fire is working on identifying the carrier in order to find the company to assist with the costs of the cleanup,” Uptmore said.
The stretch of road became a hazmat scene, DPS said on Twitter. The Texas Department of Transportation helped the agency control traffic, as the closure led to delays.
Cleaning Guys Environmental, a cleanup service based in Dallas-Fort Worth, arrived on the scene around 10:30 a.m. to assist in removing the contaminated debris, according to the tweets from DPS. Uptmore said the company is contracted by the city.
DPS announced around 11:45 a.m. the medical waste was cleaned up and the road was open again.
Uptmore acknowledged this doesn’t happen every day. He said it should serve as a lesson.
“If there’s any silver lining, it’s a stark reminder for any vehicles to secure their load when traveling, especially on a highway,” Uptmore said.