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Archive for Monday, November 26, 2007

Gasoline tanker accident slows turnpike traffic

November 26, 2007

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Tanker spill

Traffic was slowed for several hours as emergency crews responded to a gas tanker spill on westbound I-70. Enlarge video

The contents of a damaged gasoline tanker truck, at right, are transferred into another tanker on the Kansas Turnpike just west of Lawrence in this photo taken from video. The first tanker was damaged in a collision Sunday night, and the ruptured hull allowed gasoline to spew onto the roadway. Westbound traffic was slowed for several hours because of the accident.

The contents of a damaged gasoline tanker truck, at right, are transferred into another tanker on the Kansas Turnpike just west of Lawrence in this photo taken from video. The first tanker was damaged in a collision Sunday night, and the ruptured hull allowed gasoline to spew onto the roadway. Westbound traffic was slowed for several hours because of the accident.

A car abruptly switching lanes cut off a gasoline tanker truck Sunday night, causing a gash in the tanker that allowed its contents to spew onto the Kansas Turnpike, just west of the West Lawrence interchange. No injuries were reported, but traffic was slowed for several hours over a stretch of road about a mile long as emergency crews worked to secure the scene.

The tanker, traveling westbound, was driving in the left lane before emergency personnel were dispatched to the scene about 9:50 p.m. Sunday.

"Another vehicle swerved from the right lane into the left lane," causing the truck to make contact with the median, rupturing the tanker, said a Kansas Highway Patrol trooper who withheld his name because he is not authorized to speak to the media.

He said gasoline sprayed onto the right lane of the highway as the truck pulled over to the shoulder. The tanker continued to leak fuel, which drained into a culvert, until another tanker truck arrived at the scene and transferred enough gasoline to stop the leaking around 11:30 p.m.

The trooper said a HazMat team from Douglas County Emergency Management was on site to make sure the leaked fuel did not run into storm sewers, and a front-load bulldozer was digging a ditch to contain the spilled gasoline.

It was not clear whether the vehicle that cut off the truck actually made contact with it, and authorities were unable to confirm whether the vehicle had been cited for a traffic violation; a large dent, approximately 6 feet long, marred the left side of the tanker.

At press time this morning, authorities were unable to say how much fuel had leaked from the truck.

Comments

LogicMan 6 years, 4 months ago

I think those tanker-trucks carry about 8000 gallons -- so a mid-line gash could easily leak about 4000 gallons if the tank didn't have bulkheads. Too bad I wasn't there with a big bucket to save the environment, and get some free gas at the same time! :-)

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Shawna Huffman 6 years, 4 months ago

We drove by this accident shortly after it happened. Fortunately, we were on eastbound half of the highway.

The tanker truck was probably in the left lane because it just drove by the entrance ramp for the west Lawrence turnpike exchange and was allowing cars to enter onto the highway.

The gash was huge, and the amount of gas spewing was substantial. There was also so much traffic. Everyone was lucky there was not a fire.

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Prydain 6 years, 4 months ago

The three lanes end just after the lecompton exit so I'm pretty sure this happened in the two lane section of the turnpike.

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Pywacket 6 years, 4 months ago

Igby, I'm certain you mean, "they're," which is a contraction for, "they are." "Their" is a possessive and makes no sense in the context of your sentence. I'm sure the Bible would concur.

(No, I'm not turning into a grammar police cadet, folks. See http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2007/nov.... Igby seems inordinately concerned with proper language usage, so I knew he wouldn't want his erroneous use of "their" to go unremarked. ;-)

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Joe Hyde 6 years, 4 months ago

We can only speculate as to why the passenger vehicle driver changed lanes so quickly that he or she cut off a big fuel tanker truck.

One thing I do know, though, is that far too many drivers do not have their outside mirrors adjusted to the correct positions. Specifically, they have their outside mirrors set so that the mirrors look straight down the left and right sides of their car. This is incorrect and extremely dangerous in traffic.

The purpose of outside mirrors is to let the driver rapidly check the left and right side blind spots for the presence of adjacent vehicles. But...if the outside mirrors are aimed straight back, so that their view looks down the sides of the car, then the blind spots remain invisible and a collision becomes highly likely during a swerve or sudden lane change.

The windshield rearview mirror is the ONLY mirror that should be aimed so that you can see straight back behind you, The left and right outside mirrors should be aimed so that they cover the area behind and slightly left and right at approximately 30-degree angles of view.

An easy way to set these mirrors is to watch your windshield rearview mirror as a vehicle is overtaking you from behind. When the overtaking vehicle moves into the left lane to pass, you want that vehicle to disappear from your windshield mirror at the same instant it appears in your left outside mirror. Then as the overtaking vehicle leaves your left outside mirror it enters your normal left-side peripheral vision. In this way the overtaking vehicle remains in constant view during its passing maneuver.

Same thing goes for the right outside mirror, except remember that right outside mirrors are designed with convex reflection which allows a wider-angle coverage view. With your right outside mirror you can safely get away with setting it so that you can barely see the right side of your car. But the left outside mirror should NEVER show the left side of your car: if it does, it is not angled outboard far enough to cover the left side blind spot.

Adjusted properly, what you see in your outside mirrors combined with your windshield mirror will let you visually track any passing vehicles (and check for vehicles camped out on your left or right hip) without you needing to turn your head around to look.

Mirror settings are highly individual; what works best for one driver normally doesn't fit another driver's needs due to natural differences in height and preferred seat positions. This is where today's vehicles with remote mirror adjustment controls have brought a tremendous safety improvement. Problem is too many people don't use the controls to adjust their outside mirrors correctly; as a result they go zooming down the highways driving half-blind, changing lanes with no clue as to whether another vehicle is already occupying that space.

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KS 6 years, 4 months ago

This could have been a major disaster and thankfully it wasn't. but why was the truck in the left lane? Now that a thrid lane was added between Lawrence and Topeka, it now appears that we have two lanes of left lane drivers. Whatever happend to "stay right, except to pass"? Somebody was pretty agressive to cut off the truck. Why? Maybe they were making a phone call. :)

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igby 6 years, 4 months ago

Wow! These people are lucky their not BBQ right now.

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