Yukon gov't says Alaska Highway should re-open Tuesday evening

The Alaska Highway has been closed since a fuel truck towing two tankers crashed Monday evening west of Rancheria Lodge, but the territorial government expects the highway to re-open Tuesday night with pilot cars escorting traffic past the crash site.

Alaska Highway has been closed since fuel truck and tankers crashed Monday evening west of Rancheria Lodge

The two fuel tankers at kilometre 1105 on the Alaska Highway just west of the Rancheria Lodge. (RCMP)

The Yukon government plans to re-open the Alaska Highway Tuesday evening and have pilot cars escorting the flow of traffic past the site where a fuel truck towing two tankers crashed, with at least one tanker rupturing.

The territory's department of environment said in a release that approxmately 20,000 litres of fuel was spilled. Foam was put on the spill to mitigate the fumes and prevent it from catching on fire.

"The incident site has been stabilized," said a later release.

Whitehorse based Pacesetter Petroleum, which operates the truck, has hired a contractor to deal with the incident, said the release, adding that "fuel is being removed from the site."

The release said that the government's emergency social services unit was assisting people stranded on the highway, "by providing portable toilets, food and water."

However, some people waiting in long lines of traffic told CBC News that they had not seen or talked to any officials.

The crash, which took place at around 8:30 Monday evening, was at kilometre 1105, just west of Rancheria Lodge and about 125 kilometres west of Watson Lake.

RCMP say the driver was taken to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. 

Traffic was lining up at points on the Alaska Highway while people waited for the highway to reopen. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

Flagpersons were on the highway all day at several locations near communities on each side of the crash to alert motorists to the closure, said Heather McKay, who works with the territory's department of highways and public works.

A Pacesetter truck also overturned at the intersection of the Alaska and North Klondike highways in Whitehorse in June, closing both roads for hours. An employee at its Whitehorse office said the company was trying to determine what had happened.

The Pacesetter truck that overturned at the intersection of the North Klondike Highway and the Alaska Highway in June closed both highways for hours. (RCMP)

The RCMP said the public should monitor Yukon highways' emergency road closure website www.511yukon.ca for updates on the closure. 

The closed section of road is noted in red. (www.yukon511.ca )

With files from Philippe Morin