TOWNSEND, Del. — A tanker truck wreck forced the closing of Delaware’s main north-south highway in both directions Wednesday as crews worked to clean up thousands of gallons of spilled gasoline, authorities said.

State police said the accident occurred about 8:20 a.m. when a rear tire on a van towing a loaded car dolly on northbound Route 1 in southern New Castle County ruptured.

Investigators said the driver of the van, Musikami F. Bishogo of Dover, lost control of the vehicle, which crossed into the southbound lanes and into the path of the tractor-trailer, which was hauling about 8,500 gallons of unleaded gasoline.

As the tanker driver tried to avoid the van, the tractor-trailer jack-knifed and overturned.

The truck driver, a 56-year-old man from Vineland, New Jersey, sustained serious injuries and was airlifted to Christiana Hospital.

Bishogo, 55, was cited for operating an unsafe vehicle, operating an unregistered vehicle, and failure to have proof of insurance.

The accident prompted a road closure that was expected to extend into the afternoon rush hour, and officials advised motorists to seek alternate routes and follow posted detours.