Frederick County

Safety Improvements to Begin This Weekend After Fatal Tanker Crash in Frederick

Longer term safety improvements will now also be fast-tracked. 

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State highway officials said work to improve safety on U.S. Route 15 in Frederick, Maryland, where a tanker truck crash killed the driver and set homes on fire, will begin this weekend.  

Residents met with state and local officials at a town hall meeting in the auditorium of Frederick High School on Tuesday. 

The meeting began with a moment of silence for the driver killed in the crash on March 4. The tanker, filled with what one panelist described as gasoline, ruptured and exploded after the driver hit a tree on a portion of Route 15 that comes very close–too close, many believe–to homes.

“It was the scariest thing I’ve ever seen,” one member of the community said. “We’ve seen that it’s not safe. So starting at [Route] 26, slow down that traffic to 40 mph… and make everybody go slower.”

Clean-up of the flammable fuel that spilled into storm drains is underway.

Andrew Radcliffe of the Maryland Department of Transportation announced that a short term safety improvement at the crash site will be put in place this weekend.

“What we did come up with recently and we’re going to move to install as early as Sunday night is a traffic barrier or guardrail,” Radcliffe said.  

He added that longer term safety improvements will now be fast-tracked. 

“[With] federal funds we were able to fund the U.S. 15 widening project. That will add a third lane in each direction of U.S. 15,” Radcliffe said. “And what that will also do is look at the… feasibility of noise barriers along 15 throughout all these communities that are close to the road.”

Lee Redmond, who lives on Schley Avenue near where the truck exploded, said she believes it’s vital for safety improvements to address both sides of Route 15.

“I want them to know that it’s not just the northbound side of 15 that has a problem, it’s also southbound,” she said. 

Residents praised emergency response crews, but several asked that communication be improved in the future.

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