- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—Somewhere between Alstead and Keene, the maple syrup started leaking.

Traffic was backed up onto Route 9 for several hours Monday thanks to a truck dripping maple syrup in the area of Keene’s Winchester Street-Route 101 roundabout.

N.H. Department of Transportation officials spotted the Con-way freight truck just before 1 p.m. Monday, stopping it just west of the roundabout where Route 10, Winchester Street and Route 101 converge.

A 220-gallon drum was leaking inside the truck and syrup started to ooze from the vehicle.

The truck sat for about three hours, blocking one lane of traffic on Route 9 and dripping syrup onto the road as firefighters and DOT workers attempted to sop up the sticky stuff with an absorbent material.

“You can’t make this (expletive) up,” said one police officer who responded to the scene.

All 220 gallons spilled out of the truck, Keene Fire Chief Mark F. Howard said today.

The amber-colored goo, made gooier by the hot sun, spread slowly across the pavement on the exit to Route 10 South before firefighters arrived to mop it up.

Drivers entering the roundabout inched by the truck, craning their necks to see what the fuss was about and maybe catch a whiff of the syrupy smell.

The driver had picked up the drum of syrup from Bascom’s Maple in Alstead Monday morning, according to Bruce Bascom, the company’s president.

“It left here in good order,” Bascom said.

The syrup was 100 percent pure maple syrup sold by Coombs Maple, a brand owned by Bascom, he said.

The 220-gallon drum was worth about $7,500, he said.

The Con-way driver, who declined to give his name while surveying the scene Monday, said he didn’t know what caused the leak.

Bascom said about 15 trucks per day leave the company’s warehouse carrying maple syrup, much of it in bulk for use by restaurants or food producers.

The company started using cardboard drums with plastic lining to hold its bulk syrup because buyers like having the ability to recycle the containers, according to Bascom.

Bascom said he’s seen leaks before, but never one in the middle of a busy highway.

“This is a rarity,” he said. “Hopefully it’ll be the last time.”

When firefighters opened the truck’s back door, a small waterfall of syrup flowed out.

Keene firefighters — the “new guys,” one firefighter quipped — used squeegees to push the remaining syrup on the floor onto a plastic tarp.

It was later mixed with sand and absorbent materials, along with the rest of the syrup that had dripped on the ground.

Howard said Con-way would likely be responsible for disposing of the mixture.

The mess was cleaned up and the truck gone by later in the afternoon.

Martha Shanahan can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1434, or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @MShanahanKS.

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(c)2015 The Keene Sentinel (Keene, N.H.)

Visit The Keene Sentinel (Keene, N.H.) at www.sentinelsource.com

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