A tanker truck full of aviation fuel rolled over June 22 shutting down two Yukon highways for most of the day.
The crash happened just north of Whitehorse, at the intersection of the Alaska and North Klondike highways at approximately 7 a.m. It brought traffic to a standstill while staff from the City of Whitehorse and the Yukon government along with RCMP, firefighters and other emergency responders attended the scene.
By about 3 p.m. both highways were re-opened to a single lane of traffic. By 6:30 p.m. both roads were completely open.
During the standstill a row of cars parked along the side of the road stretched for more than a kilometre. Most drivers appeared to be taking it in stride.
“People have been coming in and waiting since 7:30,” said Jayden Gregorash who has worked at Takhini Gas for about a year.
Mark Tovell is visiting the territory from England. He and his friend, Marija Joffe of Lithuania, are touring the Yukon together by bicycle.
“We have been waiting here since noon,” Tovell said. “We came from Dawson. It figured the highway would close when we are the hungriest, when we are so close to having a hot shower.”
The cause of the crash is still under investigation. RCMP say the tanker’s driver was taken to the hospital, treated and released.
Environment Yukon estimates that between 3,000 to 6,000 litres of fuel was spilled, “however those numbers are still being confirmed,” spokesperson Roxanne Stasyszyn said in an email. “Environment officers are also assessing potential effects the spilled fuel may have on the environment.”
According to Stasyszyn, company has hired two subcontractors to address assessment, containment and remediation. One company is addressing the soil, the second is addressing the creek.
“Environment Yukon deployed booms on Little Takhini Creek which are used to help contain and absorb contamination. We will continue monitoring and maintaining these booms downstream.”
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