Local

This rollover wreck near Ferndale last week created a mess that just got cleaned up

Crews removed about 46,800 pounds of steel, not aluminum as originally believed, from the bottom of a water-filled ditch at the edge of Hovander Road on Tuesday, April 10, near Ferndale.
Crews removed about 46,800 pounds of steel, not aluminum as originally believed, from the bottom of a water-filled ditch at the edge of Hovander Road on Tuesday, April 10, near Ferndale. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

Crews removed 23 tons of metal from a water-filled ditch on Hovander Road on Tuesday, a week after it landed there following a semi rollover.

The crash at Hovander and West Smith roads was reported at 9:30 a.m. April 3. Up to 100 gallons of diesel fuel spilled from the truck as well.

The semi-truck was hauling the metal on a 40-foot flatbed trailer and was on its way to Alcoa Intalco Works, the Whatcom County Sheriff's Office has said.

Investigators originally believed the truck was carrying aluminum ingots.

But after workers pulled the bars out of the ditch on Tuesday, they realized they were made of steel, according to Ty Keltner, spokesman for the Washington State Department of Ecology.

The semi was headed west on West Smith Road, when it came to a sharp curve onto Hovander Road.

The driver said he didn't move into the oncoming lane to make room for the turn because traffic was there. As a result, the trailer's right rear tires went off the road's shoulder and sank into mud until the trailer was pulled into a ditch filled with water.

The load's weight caused the trailer to roll over onto its top, the sheriff's office said, eventually causing the truck to flip until it was upside down and partially submerged in the ditch.

0403 Semi Crash.jpg
A Tuesday morning rollover at Hovander and West Smith roads near Ferndale spilled up to 100 gallons of diesel into a water-filled ditch next to wetlands. Department of Ecology Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

In order to remove the truck and trailer last week, crews had to cut the load free.

On Tuesday, they finished the cleanup by pulling 46,800 pounds of steel out of the ditch.

The driver, who investigators described as inexperienced, was cited for “driving with wheels off roadway.” He wasn't hurt in the rollover.

About 46,800 pounds of aluminum sits at the bottom of a water-filled ditch on the edge of Hovander Road on Wednesday, April 4, in Ferndale.

Kie Relyea: 360-715-2234, @kierelyea
  Comments