Gorham Fire Chief Robert Lefebvre said Friday that he plans to reach out to state transportation officials to see whether any improvements can be made to the traffic rotary that connects routes 112 and 114 – the site of two oil truck rollovers in the last two years, including one Thursday night.

Maine Department of Environmental Protection officials returned Friday to the scene where about 1,000 gallons of gasoline and diesel spilled. A fuel truck driven by 26-year-old Kip Patten of Fabian Oil Inc. overturned going around the rotary about 7:30 p.m. Thursday. The truck’s tank was punctured during the crash, causing fuel to leak onto the road and surrounding area.

Peter Blanchard, director of the DEP’s Response Services Division, said Friday that crews focused on removing any soil that was contaminated.

“The Fire Department did a great job containing it and covering the storm drains with plastic,” Blanchard said. “But this was a major spill, so there will be a lot of work to do to clean up.”

DEP officials responded to an even bigger spill in June 2014 at the same location, a traffic circle in southern Gorham that connects two major roads. Lefebvre said other trucks have overturned there, too, including a hay truck and a mobile home that slid off a truck.

“It’s a concern,” Lefebvre said. “The biggest issue is with trucks going too fast.”

Maine Department of Transportation spokesman Ted Talbot said Friday that the department welcomes any conversations with municipalities about improving state-maintained roads and intersections.

“These rotaries are designed for slow traffic movements,” Talbot said. “I think any vehicle that is top heavy or that has a load that can shift is more susceptible in that design than it would be anywhere else.”

Talbot said he could not immediately provide data on previous accidents at that intersection.

Lefebvre said the rotary is not a new traffic pattern but he said it could probably be improved, if only with better signage for vehicles to slow down upon approach. The posted speed limit around the rotary is 35 mph. The roads approaching the rotary have a posted speed limit of 45.

Police don’t yet know how fast Patten was traveling Thursday when his truck overturned. The accident remains under investigation. A representative of Fabian, the Oakland-based fuel transport company, said he couldn’t answer questions about the accident because it was still under investigation. The fuel in the truck that did not spill – about 4,000 gallons – was transferred to another truck.

Patten posted on his Facebook page a link to a story about the accident and wrote, “Well there you go … That’s how my night went.”

Both routes 112 and 114 in Gorham were shut down Thursday evening and into Friday morning and traffic was rerouted. The roads opened early Friday before the morning commute.

Blanchard said DEP officials will likely be working at the scene for several days. After the contaminated soil is removed, the groundwater will be tested. He said the DEP is still monitoring the area from the spill in 2014, but no wells in the area were affected.


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