Semi, tank trailers crash on Interior highway, spill fuel

ANCHORAGE — An estimated 4,000 gallons of diesel fuel spilled along the Richardson Highway when a semi pulling double tank trailers ran off the road.


The Colville Transport rig crashed Monday afternoon about 20 miles south of Paxson, the unincorporated community at the highway’s intersection with the Denali Highway.

The semi was driven by 57-year-old Thomas Gray of Fairbanks.

The truck’s tire went off the pavement, causing the northbound truck to go into the ditch and roll onto its passenger side, Alaska State Troopers said.

Gray was driven by private vehicle to a medical facility to be checked out.

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation received word of the spill from Colville about 45 minutes after the crash. The company determined that one compartment of the lead trailer ruptured, spilling its contents.

Two other compartments of the lead trailer remained intact. So did the “pup” trailer, which was carrying 5,000 gallons of diesel. A small volume, however, leaked from a vent tube on the second trailer.

The spills put oil on a roughly 6-by-175-foot area of soil and vegetation on a right of way within federal land managed by the Bureau of Land Management. By 3 a.m. Tuesday, all fuel not spilled had been removed from the truck and trailers, the DEC said.

The site at Mile 164.4 Richardson Highway is more than a mile from surface water.

The DEC in its situation report said no effect on wildlife has been detected but caribou are migrating through the area.

Crews from Colville and National Response Corp. Alaska, LLC responded to the site to recover spilled diesel fuel. Responders planned to bring in heavy equipment to remove contaminated snow, vegetation and soil.


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