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Local authorities track hazardous materials

JOHN GARDNERGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. Hazardous materials are transported all over the state, and the nation, in tanker trucks every day. Highway 13, which runs north from Rifle to Meeker and beyond, sees its share of materials being transported. That’s why the Colorado State Patrol thought that it would be a good route to watch.”It just makes sense to us to track the traffic on this highway,” Miller said.The Emergency Preparedness Department (EPD), a division of the Colorado Department of Public Safety, has the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) helping track and document commercial tankers and the material being transported with truck checks statewide.”This is a commodity-flow study,” said State Trooper Eric Miller. “We are trying to compile info on what types of cargo is being transported on the state’s highways and how much.”Miller said that the CSP was not stopping anybody, just recording the information on the trucks from distinguishing placards that say what type of materials the trucks are carrying.”What we’re doing is just sitting on the shoulder of the road and tracking what type of trailer the truck is hauling, what it’s hauling, and the placard,” Miller said.Miller noted that in approximately a 10-minute period he witnessed about 10 tankers pass by. The CSP, assisted by the Rifle Fire Protection District (RFPD), conducted the 24 hour operation starting at 7 a.m. Tuesday morning. CSP based in Grand Junction tracked eastbound Interstate 70, and CSP in Golden tracked the westbound lanes.Miller said with I-70 already being tracked it gave local troopers the chance to track highway 13, which sees a high volume of traffic from the gas and oil industry.All the data recorded will be collected by the EPD and entered into a database where police, fire and other departments can access the information to educate themselves on what materials are being transported through their communities.”It’s great for us to know what is going down that highway,” RFPD fire marshal Kevin Whelan said. “It helps us to train for it, so if we ever need to deal with it we’ll know how.”The RFPD received a new Hazardous Materials Response Unit in December 2006, for use in these types of specific situations.Contact John Gardner: 945-8515, ext. 16604jgardner@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO


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