While an overturned semi on College Drive may cause your drive home to be delayed a few minutes, things could have been much worse.
The semi was hauling anhydrous ammonia when it fell onto its side Thursday morning. Some diesel fuel started leaking from the semi, but fortunately there was no rupture in the ammonia tanks. Nobody was hurt in the incident. Saskatoon Fire Chief Morgan Hackl says if that ammonia would have leaked and turned into a gas, it could have severely impacted many people in the area. In a liquid state, anhydrous ammonia can cause your skin to burn. However, if it were to turn into a gaseous state, it could cause damage to your lungs if inhaled. A number of emergency organizations are on the scene of the cleanup, including hazardous materials teams who have set up a water curtain to prevent any potential ammonia leaks from spreading. Hackl says it could take up to two days to remove the ammonia from the semi, flip the vehicle upright, and ensure everything is safe to open up to traffic again. Hackl says they will be sending out notifications through NotifyNow to residents in the area of the incident. He also says in his thirty years working for the fire department he can't remember shutting down a major thoroughfare for a lengthy period of time for an incident like this. This afternoon, the city sent out a release notifying drivers that traffic signals at key intersections will be adjusted. The city recommends residents in the Sutherland, Forest Grive, Silverspring, and Evergreen neighbourhoods use Attridge Drive and 108th Street to get home. If you are heading to the Brighton, Willowgrove, Arbor Creek, Erindale, and areas east of city limits, you have two recommended choices: 8th Street to McOrmond Drive, or Circle Drive to Highway 16 to Zimmerman Road, by the new Costco. Drivers will be able to access Circle Drive from College if they are heading from downtown, but westbound drivers must turn off at Central Avenue and cannot access the freeway. City officials say that the off-loading process and truck removal will be complete by the morning commute.