Interstate 70’s westbound exit 203 on- and off-ramps in Frisco closed for the second day in a row Tuesday, Aug. 12. But unlike Monday’s closure for paving, yesterday’s traffic interruption was unplanned.
Shortly before 8 a.m., a tanker truck traveling westbound took the Frisco-Breckenridge exit with the intention of traveling south on Highway 9, said Sgt. Philip Gurley of the Colorado State Patrol. The truck was hauling about 6,000 gallons of magnesium chloride in its 9,000-gallon tank.
As the truck navigated the roundabout at the exit, the wheels of the tanker went up on the curb, shifting the liquid in the tanker and causing the truck to roll over on its side. The truck was reportedly traveling at about 5 miles per hour, according to witnesses statements made to the State Patrol.
The driver was transported by Summit County Ambulance to St. Anthony Summit Medical Center as a precaution, Gurley said. He was later released with minor injuries.
It took first responders about seven hours to reopen exit 203 to westbound traffic, said Steve Lipsher, public information officer for lake Dillon Fire-Rescue. First responders had the truck back on its wheels by about 1 p.m. and the exit was reopened at approximately 3 p.m. Eastbound traffic was not affected by the crash.
Deputy fire marshal Kim McDonald, of Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue, said magnesium chloride is not considered a hazardous material. There was one leak as a result of the crash and some liquid did spill onto the roadway, but the rest of the tanker had been contained before 9 a.m.
Although the spill was not considered the most serious of public health hazards, Lipsher said the Summit Fire Authority’s hazmat team responded to assist with the cleanup.
“It’s salt, so it’s not the type of thing that causes a public health risk, but it’s also not supposed to be there in that concentration,” Lipsher said. “It can harm vegetation and can affect the water supply, but given where the spill occurred, it wasn’t that grave of an environmental risk.”
Also responding to the crash were the Summit County Sheriff’s Office, the Colorado Department of Transportation and the town of Frisco. Dillon Towing removed the tanker truck from the scene.