Paint spill

The aftermath of the roundabout paint spill.

Note: This story appears in the Sunday, Oct. 6 newspaper on Page A3.

Life happens.

A certain Jeep driver can attest to that — in this case, life happened all over the Richland Avenue roundabout right at rush hour and in the lanes headed out of town.

On Thursday at about 5 p.m., a 275-gallon container of white road paint fell off the back of a contractor’s vehicle. The container hit the ground and subsequently exploded.

A Jeep trailing the contractor received an unexpected paint job. The resulting mess covered the roadway and created a traffic jam into Ohio University’s campus.

“There was no damage to the road, besides aesthetics,” said Bob Heady, the city’s engineering and public works director. “Thankfully, the contractor has the capabilities to come in and clean up the paint.”

He said workers spent all night at the roundabout working to clear off the roadway, with city employees and police officers directing traffic around the circle. However, the contractor’s equipment broke before all the paint could be removed.

More work was done and by Saturday the area looked mostly back to normal.

There’s more cleaning work to be done on the north leg of the roundabout, Heady said on Friday. The contractors planned to return to finish the job, and have put down temporary pavement markings in the meantime.

As for the unfortunate — and now, white — Jeep? Heady said he was told the owner scraped the paint off the windshield with a utility knife and continued their commute home.

This was perhaps the most unexpected incident at the Richland roundabout since Aug. 23, 2013. That’s the day a beer delivery truck spilled several cases of Keystone Light onto the intersection. A Messenger photo showed a bevy of beverage cans run over throughout the circle.

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