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Oil spills foul Maui traffic

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Two oils spills on Maui roads caused traffic delays on Wednesday, but no serious injuries.

At 9:25 a.m., fire and police in West Maui were called to the intersection of Honoapiilani Highway and Lower Honoapiilani Road where an oil slick the width of the right north-bound lane of Honoapiilani Highway stretched 1.5 miles from Halawai Drive to Akahele Street near Kapalua Airport.

The mile-long oil spill was caused by a Maui Disposal garbage truck that lost a hydraulic line. A motorist told the driver of the spill after the driver pulled over to investigate smoke coming from the truck. The oil was burning up on the hot engine exhaust. About 35 gallons of hydraulic fluid was spilled.

No vehicle accidents from the spill were reported.

Police closed the north-bound lane of Honoapiilani Highway from Lower Honoapiilani Road to Akahele Street while crews cleaned up the spill. Both lanes of the highway were reopened just after 1 p.m.

In a separate incident, just before 1 p.m., a six-foot wide oil slick was reported in the Kahului-bound lane of Pulehu Road, about three-quarters of a mile below the Y with Omaopio Road. The slick stretched for about 150 yards around a sharp turn in the road. The spill was estimated to be around 10 gallons.

Three vehicles that were Kahului-bound lost control and skidded across the centerline as they rounded the turn. The third vehicle ran head-on into another vehicle traveling in the opposite direction. No one was seriously injured.

Fire crews soaked up the spill with absorbent granules and county public works employees disposed of the hazardous waste.

Authorities haven’t determined the cause of the oil spill.

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