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Tankers cause trouble on Summit roads

Caddie Nath
Summit County Correspondent
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

SILVERTHORNE, Colorado – Tuesday brought double trouble for Summit County public-safety officials as two chemical-bearing tankers crashed and sprung leaks in the course of one afternoon.

Crews had barely finished containing the estimated 1,000 gallons of magnesium chloride that spilled from an overturned tanker under the Interstate 70 interchange in Silverthorne when a different tanker crashed while traveling down from the Eisenhower Tunnel on I-70, dumping approximately 50 pounds of liquid blasting agents on the highway.

According to initial reports, the second crash occurred when a heavy-tow truck rear-ended the tanker carrying the blasting gel – said to be about the consistency of apple sauce. The material is potentially explosive if exposed to spark or flame. A truck carrying such material would usually be routed over Loveland Pass, but the pass was closed Tuesday afternoon for avalanche control work.



“We’ve had our teams a third of a mile away, according to the manufacturer’s directions,” Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue spokesman Steve Lipsher said. “It’s my understanding that this stuff is fairly stable, unless it comes in contact with the wrong agent.”

Colorado Department of Transportation hazmat crews were called in to assist with clean-up efforts.



The driver of the tow truck, which was not a CDOT vehicle, was injured in the crash and taken to St. Anthony Summit Medical Center for treatment.

The crash shut down I-70 in both directions from Silverthorne to the tunnel. Eastbound lanes were reopened approximately three hours after the accident. At press time Tuesday, westbound I-70 was expected to remain closed for about eight hours – or until about 1 a.m. Wednesday. A tanker from Cheyenne, Wyo., was scheduled to off-load the substance from the wrecked truck.

The blasting agent spill came just two hours after a double tanker rolled its rear tank, spilling magnesium chloride dangerously close to the Blue River. The tank may have overturned as the truck was making the turn off the eastbound I-70 exit ramp onto Highway 9, said Lake Dillon Deputy Chief Jeff Berino.


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