Traffic heading southbound on Interstate 575 in northern Cherokee County came to a standstill late Friday morning due to an incident involving a tractor-trailer.

Jay Baker, the public information officer with the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office, said the incident occurred shortly after 11 a.m., north of the Howell Bridge Road exit in Ball Ground.

Although the incident remains under investigation, Baker said initial examination of the scene by deputies seemed to indicate that the tractor-trailer lost control when a tire blew, sending the truck into a guardrail, then causing it to jackknife on the road. Diesel fuel spilled out onto the road, which appeared to be a result of the truck hitting the guardrail, the railing punching a hole into the truck’s diesel tanks.

“There was a fire early on, but the flames were extinguished quickly,” Baker said.

In addition to deputies from the sheriff’s office, Baker said units from the Cherokee Marshal’s Office and Cherokee Fire and Emergency Services responded to the scene.

The interstate remained closed into the afternoon, as officials worked to remove the truck and clean up the spilled fuel. While the interstate was closed, Baker said deputies were helping get traffic turned around and back up to the connector with Ga. Highway 372, where they could then access alternate southbound routes.

According to a Twitter post from the sheriff’s office, one lane of 575 was reopened at 12:42 p.m. The second lane remained closed until 12:51 p.m., when the sheriff’s office posted a follow-up tweet stating the road was clear and safe for travel again.

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