Coquihalla Highway reopens northbound after spill of 20,000 litres of corrosive liquid

B.C.'s Coquihalla Highway is now open northbound from Othello to Merritt after a tractor trailer fire and corrosive spill closed both directions earlier.

Highway had been closed both directions from Othello to Merritt due to fire and spill

The semi truck caught fire Tuesday morning, spilling corrosive liquid onto the road and into the ditch. (RAM Environmental Response Ltd.)

An emergency environmental assessment has determined that 20,000 litres of a corrosive liquid spilled on the Coquihalla Highway Tuesday following a tractor trailer fire.

DriveBC says the incident happened two kilometres west of the Carolin Mines exit.

The province said, in a statement, the semi was hauling phenol formaldehyde resin, a corrosive liquid. 

It said the product leaked onto the highway and into the ditch and that the spill is now contained within a 12 metre stretch of ditch in a natural depression.

Photos shared on social media show a burning semi truck near Exit 192. (@LaoneHuman/ Twitter)

Two environmental emergency response officers conducted an assessment, while RCMP maintained an 800 metre exclusion zone around the spill for safety.

The exclusion zone has since been lifted.

RAM Environmental Response Ltd., a contractor hired to help clean up the spill, is also on site. The province say they are planning to berm the ditch and use a poly liner to keep the liquid contained.

The highway has reopened northbound but remains closed southbound from east of Hope to Merritt.

Highway 1 and Highway 3 can be used as alternate routes. 

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