Saskatoon drivers are being asked for patience as a section of College Drive continues to be closed to traffic.
A semi-tractor trailer carrying anhydrous ammonia rolled over while heading east on College between Circle Drive and Central Avenue Thursday morning. No one was injured in the incident.
Fire crews quickly confirmed the tanker was not ruptured and none of the ammonia had leaked. A small diesel spill was reported at the scene.
The incident snarled traffic during the morning rush and restrictions were immediately put into place.
As of 5:15 p.m., College Drive eastbound is shutdown between Preston and Central avenues, while westbound lanes are closed between McKercher Drive and Central Avenue.
The Saskatoon Fire Department responded to the scene around 8:25 a.m. Once it was determined the semi was carrying ammonia, a hazmat team, decontamination crew and mobile command vehicle were dispatched to the area.
Fire Chief Morgan Hackl provided an update on the incident at 12:15 p.m.
“Anhydrous ammonia is a dangerous product, but it’s important to note there is no leak,” Hackl said.
He noted that in a liquid state, the chemical will burn skin, while anhydrous ammonia gas can seriously damage lungs once inhaled.
Hackl explained the next step for crews is to safely offload the liquid ammonia to another tanker, adding the process is slow.
After that, the city needs approval from Transport Canada to move the tanker upright.
As of 4:20 p.m., Saskatoon Emergency Management Operations said a second tanker had arrived at the scene to begin the offloading process.
The city said shortly after 5 p.m. they hoped to have the truck and chemicals removed by Friday’s morning commute.
Hackl told reporters in a second media scrum in order for the road to open on that timeline, every step of the removal process would need to be successful.
Fire crews planned to conduct a safety test for the ammonia removal at 6 p.m. with plans to start the process immediately if successful.
Alternate routes for drivers heading to northeast Saskatoon neighbourhoods include:
- Attridge Drive eastbound
- 108th Street eastbound
- McKercher Drive northbound, exiting onto College Drive eastbound out to McOrmond Drive
- 8th Street eastbound all the way to McOrmond Road, with a detour through Brighton
- Circle Drive to Highway 16 eastbound, turning onto Zimmerman Road near Costco
— With files from Chris Vandenbreekel and Jay Thomas, CKOM Traffic.