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Propane tanker truck overturns in Tilton; nearby stores, roads closed

New Hampshire Union Leader

November 21. 2017 6:31PM
The rollover of this propane tanker closed part of Route 3 for several hours after the driver failed to make the turn off the Interstate 93 off-ramp Tuesday morning. The Tanger Outlet stores and adjacent businesses were shut down twice during the incident. Route 3 and all businesses had been reopened by 7:30 p.m. (COURTESY Tilton Fire Department)

TILTON — An overturned propane tanker truck became a traffic nightmare and a potential public safety threat in Tilton, police said.

The accident happened around 11 a.m. when the driver of the tanker truck was unable to make the turn off Interstate 93 onto Route 3 and tipped over in front of the Tilt’n Diner.

As a result, the diner was evacuated and later closed for the day. Nearby Tanger Outlet was closed.

The eastbound road of Route 3 near the Exit 20 off-ramp was closed for several hours. Officials said the driver was not injured.

Late in the afternoon, two lanes of traffic were reopened. But a second hazardous materials alert was made when officials overseeing the removal of the propane became concerned.

This involved for the second time Tuesday shutting down all the stores in the Tanger Outlet along with Hobby Lobby and an adjacent supermarket.

“They were removing 30,000 gallons of propane and realized they would not be getting all of it out,” said Tilton Police Chief Bob Cormier. “As a result, we made a decision to again close the road and to evacuate all the businesses for more than a quarter-mile radius.”

Fire officials said it took more than four hours to offload the propane from the tanker before it could be moved.

During rush hour state transportation officials also closed the Exit 20 off-ramp on I-93 and the intersection and access from Route 3 to Laconia Road.

First responders gave the public the all-clear just after 7 p.m. Tuesday.

“It was a very technical and potentially dangerous accident scene requiring a lot of resources to manage it,” Cormier said.

He added: “I also want to thank all the stores and their employees for their cooperation during this incident and also, we greatly appreciate the public’s patience while in traffic as a result of this accident.”

Northern Gas Transport Co. of Lyndonvile, Vt., was the owner of the tanker; the cause of the accident remains under investigation by Tilton and New Hampshire State Police.

Anyone who witnessed the incident is asked to contact Tilton Police at 286-4442.

Public Safety Accidents Food Shopping Travel and commuting Traffic Tilton Transportation

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