"Grease" Spill Shuts Down U Street

Wednesday, Jul 7, 2010  |  Updated 5:00 PM EDT
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A slick substance causes quite a mess on U Street.

A slick substance causes quite a mess on U Street.

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Grease Spill Makes Mess of U Street

Several blocks of U Street are closed in Northwest after grease made the street too slick to drive.
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We may not be getting any rain to make roads slick, but a little grease-like substance sure is doing the trick.

DDOT said someone dumped grease on U Street overnight, closing the street for several hours.  Department of Public Works spokeswoman Linda Grant told the Associated Press that they believe a vehicle that collects cooking oil from restaurants appears to have leaked as it traveled down the street.  Others who witnessed the incident said they believe it could be raw sewage leaking from a sewage truck.

Whatever it was, it caused quite a mess, forcing DDOT to sent out a spreader to scatter sand across the roadways to help drivers, bikers and pedestrians navigate the slippery substance.

U Street is now open between 7th and 16th streets, but DDOT said to use caution because the road is still slick in places.

Also, 14th Street NW was temporarily shut down between T and V streets.  D.C. Fire and EMS said the slick road conditions extended to 7th Street between F and T streets as well as along U Street.

While DDOT called the slick stuff grease, some say it may be something else.

A woman who talked with NBC4's Elaine Reyes said she was on her way to her office at T and 11th streets at about 5 a.m. when she said she saw what appeared to be a blue sewage truck with port-a-johns on the back leaking something.

She said she called 311 and the fire department because it smelled like sewage.

The grease-like substance created very slick conditions for drivers, who have been warned to use caution in the area.

Metrobus 90s lines are being detoured around the U Street closure, according to DDOT.

There's no immediate word on who dumped the substance or if it was an accident or something more sinister, but DDOT has a sand truck making its way up and down U Street to try to add some traction.

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