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Byline: Jim Balow
Jul. 30--On any given weekday, trucks carry about 10 loads of hazardous materials an hour, every hour, along Interstate 77 two miles north of the I-77/79 split in Charleston.
That's more than 60,000 shipments of hazardous materials -- mostly gasoline -- a year, not counting weekends, based on a 2000 study by the National Institute for Chemical Studies.
Volunteers from the Kanawha-Putnam Emergency Planning Committee and paid data collectors stood beside the road at seven sites in Kanawha County and three in Putnam, reading hazmat placards on the side of passing trucks to identify the materials inside for the 2000 survey.
They found that I-77 carried the most hazardous material shipments during the survey period. Interstate 79 two miles north of the I-77/79 split was next busiest with 7.5 hazmat shipments an hour, followed by the intersection of W.Va. 25 and I-64 in Institute and the intersection of W.Va. 34 and US 35 near Winfield, each of which had seven shipments an hour.
Trucks are just one way that hazardous materials move through the Kanawha Valley, of course. Some …