A Bemidji School District maintenance truck took an over-eager right onto Paul Bunyan Avenue Friday morning, prematurely dumping 25 gallons of latex pavement marking paint in a 100 yard yellow smear.
The resulting Jackson Pollock forced lane closures for two full hours while Minnesota Department of Transportation workers spread absorbent biodegradable material, aka sawdust, over the paint and shoveled the colorful slurry into fifty gallon drums.
Rod Starkey, DOT security administrator said the district truck was on its way from one facility to another. When the truck turned from First Street onto Paul Bunyan, three barrels of paint continued in a straight line.
"It can't have been a good feeling," he said, "seeing all that paint, but the driver did the right thing calling us."
By 10:30 the road was opened to traffic. Starkey said his crews deal with spills with some regularity, but they're usually gas spills. The paint, he said, isn't toxic and is thus easier to deal with.
Simpler to clean up perhaps, but two lanes of yellow splatter was definitely more noticeable than gasoline. The accident made prime commentary for Bemidji's Twitter voices.
Motorists are urged to be aware of a paint spill on Mn 197 near downtown @bemidji at the ped overpass. Northbound lane is closed.— MnDOT District 2 (@MnDOTnorthwest) July 11, 2014