Truck breaks through ice road after weight limit increase
Monday, March 7, 2016, 10:36 AM - A fuel tanker broke through an ice road in the Northwest Territories Saturday, closing the crossing to all traffic.
The incident occurred on the Deline access road on Great Bear Lake. The 99-kilometre road mainly follows land but eventually crosses the frozen lake. Fortunately, no one was injured and authorities say the truck did not appear to be leaking fuel.
A photo of the partly submerged tanker was posted to Facebook by the territory's Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
The truck had been carrying heating fuel to Deline as part of the annual government-run fuel resupply, CBC reports.
The transportation department had increased the weight limit on the crossing from 10,000 kg to 40,000 kg four days prior to the incident.
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Great Bear Ice Crossing has been increased to 40,000 kgs. Drive safe!— GNWT Transportation (@GNWT_DOT) March 2, 2016
Crews say the road was tested with ground-penetrating radar, confirming the ice was 100-120 cm thick and safe for trucks to travel on. Over ten tankers successfully crossed before the mishap occurred.
There has been no evidence to suggest the driver was speeding at the time.
"There is no sheen around the water," Kevin McLeod, the government's director of highway and marine services told CBC. "The tank... has passed all its inspections in the past and it is a safe tank for carrying fuel on public highways."
To prevent any further sinking crews worked through Saturday night spraying water into the cracks of the ice surrounding the truck to freeze it in place.
Before moving the truck, the fuel will be transferred to a second tanker once the site is stable.
The Deline access is currently closed and will only reopen if it is deemed safe for public use. The highway usually closes at the end of March and it is the only road connection between the community.
Crews hope to find a detour route by the end of the week.
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