Ink Spill From UPS Truck Paints a Highway Rainbow

As seen in the June issue of Popular Science. We love this photo

Rush-hour traffic outside Boston got messier than usual on March 9, when a UPS truck hauling 16,000 pounds of industrial printer ink flipped and shut down an interstate access ramp. When the red, yellow and blue ink hit the pavement, it spread like Technicolor through Oz.

Cleanup crews working with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection arrived on the scene within hours to contain the spill and prevent the ink, which is nontoxic, from reaching the water table. First they tried to soak it up with sand. When that didn't work, they simply repaved the spill site. The ordeal shut down a 500-foot stretch of Route 128 for most of the day—but at least commuters got a smoother road out of it.