TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN
The cab of a fuel tanker truck sits destroyed after a collision between two tankers at the intersection of Richmond Avenue East and Highway 110 east of Brandon on Monday afternoon. The driver of the truck was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Meanwhile thousands of litres of fuel spilled from the other truck.
No changes are planned to an intersection where two semi-trucks collided earlier this week, as police have determined driver error was involved.
Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation regional director of operations Herb Mahood says with the finding of driver error, there’s nothing to prompt a redesign.
He said it’s likely not even the installation of a traffic light would have prevented the crash between the semi-trucks hauling tankers at the intersection of Highway 110 and Richmond Avenue East on Monday afternoon.
"It’s a fully operational intersection," Mahood said. "Basically, it functions OK. It’s designed to the current standard of the day, and there’s no other improvements warranted at this time."
One southbound semi hauling two tankers on Highway 110 collided with another semi hauling one tanker east along Richmond Avenue East.
One of the southbound semi’s tankers was severed from the truck, flipped on its side and fuel gushed from a puncture.
The spilled fuel leaked onto the ground and ran into water in nearby ditches. Firefighters and a local trucking company managed to contain the bulk of the spill so a nearby river wouldn’t be contaminated.
Some fuel made it to the ditch but was contained with floating booms.
Diesel is far less combustible than fuel, but poses a significant risk to the environment.
A Manitoba Conservation spokesman credited Brandon Fire and Emergency Services with a quick response to the collision, and said it’s not expected there will be any impacted areas outside of the original spill zone.
By Wednesday, most of the pooled diesel had been removed, while fuel in the ditch was being absorbed with pads and booms. Contaminated soil from the area was being dug out to be replaced by uncontaminated soil.
An environmental firm was taking soil and water samples.
Cleanup was expected to continue at least until Friday, and booms would likely remain in place for a couple of weeks to ensure the fuel is contained.
North-south traffic along Highway 110 faces stop signs at Richmond Avenue. Traffic on Richmond has the right of way, and doesn’t face traffic control devices at the intersection.
Mahood noted there are flashing red lights on top of each stop sign.
On Friday, the Brandon Police Service announced that the driver of the southbound semi had been charged under the Highway Traffic Act with failing to yield the right of way following a required stop.
Semis travel through the intersection in all directions, and there’s lots of traffic due to the nearby Simplot plant and Maple Leaf Foods.
But Mahood said the intersection is not considered a problem and, while busy, isn’t busy enough for traffic lights.
The intersection is reviewed by the province’s Infrastructure and Transportation’s Traffic Engineering Branch every couple of years to determine whether lights are needed.
The intersection design can also be reviewed if there’s a growing number of collisions, but that’s not currently the case. Upgrades will be made as justified, Mahood said.
» Twitter: @IanHitchen
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 17, 2014