A tractor-trailer carrying hazardous materials overturned in Dartmouth Friday morning, causing a traffic jam and raising concerns about possible environmental damage.

Police say the truck overturned just after 4:30 a.m. while turning from Highway 118 onto Akerley Boulevard in the Burnside Industrial Park.

“This tractor-trailer had rolled over onto its side and the load had unfortunately spilled out the side of the trailer,” says Halifax Regional Police Const. Tracy MacDonald.

The trailer ripped open in the collision and containers of chemicals, including flammable liquids, corrosives, acetones, gases and nitrogen and oxygen spilled out, filling the air with strong-smelling fumes.

The materials were headed for a Canadian Tire store.

“Initially we do a quick response. Once we get some clues of what is going on we hold back and secure the area until we can actually find out what is in front of us,” says Halifax Regional Fire Division Commander Scott Shaffner.

Emergency crews deemed the site a public safety hazard, prompting the closure of four highway exits and a main road for about eight hours.

The trucking company Day and Ross hired an environmental cleanup crew to clean up the mess. Officials were on scene all day working to contain the spill.

They later determined up to several hundred litres of chemicals were released into the environment.

“It’s been determined there is no immediate threat to the environment,’ says Robert Cuthbert, an environment inspector specialist. “There are no waterways near the scene and the responsible party is taking appropriate and immediate actions.”

Soil cleanup will continue next week.

The driver walked away with minor injuries and the cause of the accident remains under investigation. There is no word on charges at this time.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Kelland Sundahl