The Alaska Highway was re-opened between 7:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tuesday after being closed for almost 24 hours because of a fuel truck
accident Monday near Rancheria.
The accident involved a Pacesetter Petroleum B-train of gasoline travelling north from Edmonton.
There was no blockage of the highway, as the two tankers of fuel were off the road in the ditch.
Officials decided to close it because approximately 20,000 litres of gasoline had spilled, creating a potentially volatile situation.
The Watson Lake volunteer fire department responded with a fire truck capable of applying foam to stabilize the scene, Environment Yukon reported.
Mark LeBlanc of Pacesetter’s Whitehorse office said this morning the driver was released from hospital early Tuesday with a few bumps and
bruises, so he will be fine.
He said they have not sat down yet to go over the details of the accident, as their attention has been on assessing the site and planning the remediation.
Whatever happened, there was enough force that the fifth wheel was ripped right off the truck and stayed with the trailer units when they
separated from the tractor, LeBlanc said.
The tractor, he said, was removed fairly quickly by loading it onto a trailer.
Pacesetter also dispatched another fuel truck so fuel from the two tankers laying in the ditch could be pumped off.
The two tankers remained in the ditch this morning.
LeBlanc said the company has retained Access Consulting and Hemmera Envirochem to assess the site and oversee the cleanup.
It wasn’t clear late this morning what the cleanup will entail exactly. In all likelihood, it will involve removing material from the site to be
remediated, LeBlanc said.
Environment Yukon reported Tuesday that no fuel entered any water course.
RCMP spokeswoman Coralee Reid said this morning the cause of the accident is still under investigation.
She said officers remained on the scene even after the highway opened to one lane to assist with the orderly flow of traffic.
The highway was still only open to one lane this morning. Pilot vehicles are guiding traffic through the accident area.
Following the spill, traffic was being halted at Watson Lake and Junction 37 to the south of the site and at Swift River and Teslin to the north.
Watson Lake CAO Cam Lockwood described the town Tuesday as bustling, with visitors using their time to check out what the community had to offer.
He said one woman was passing the time rollerblading inside the arena.