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UPDATED: Highway 3 closed until Friday afternoon due to vehicle recovery

The section (in red) of Highway 3 east of Salmo is closed due to a single vehicle accident Wednesday evening. — Screenshot DriveBC

Highway 3 14 kilometers east of Salmo opened during Thursday evening and into Friday morning to single, alternating traffic following a tractor trailer crash that killed the Alberta man.

However, the road will be closed from 8 a.m. to approximately 2 p.m. for vehicle recovery. DriveBC said the estimated re-opening of the highway will be 2 p.m.

Detour is Highway 3A, Kootenay Lake Ferry. Currently there is a possible two-sailing waits due to the running of the smaller MV Balfour Ferry. Weight restrictions apply due to low water with no dangerous cargo being transported.

Crews continue clean up from fuel tanker crash on Kootenay Pass

Crews continue with the task of removing a tractor trailer and two linked tankers filled with diesel from the Salmo River following a crash that killed an Alberta man Wednesday evening two kilometers east of the Highway 3/6 junction to the US Border.

Ministry of Environment officials said the tankers were compromised following the crash with a significant amount of fuel spilling into the river. Officials said an environmental response officer was on scene and vacuum trucks and spill response equipment had been deployed.

The Regional District of the Central Kootenay (RDCK) said it is monitoring the situation, and that it will notify the public if water sources are affected or communities are threatened.

The Regional District of Central Kootenay Emergency Management Team was monitoring the situation said Chris Johnson, Emergency Program Manager for the RDCK.

Interior Health identified no registered drinking water users downstream of the spill site and there is a low risk to public health. Residents who may draw their water from the river between the crash site and the Salmo River at the United States border, are advised to be alert and check their water for any signs of diesel fuel including sheen or fuel odour.

"All residents and recreational users in the affected area should not use the river water if it smells or tastes like fuel," the IH release said.

"Fuel is easily detected by smell and taste at very low concentrations. This means no drinking, swimming, showering/bathing or brushing teeth if a fuel odour is detected. A short, one‐time exposure to fuel will not normally cause any long‐term health effects. Prolong exposure may result in eye or skin irritation, dizziness, difficulty breathing, headache and vomiting."

Anyone travelling from east to Creston were detoured through Nelson on Highway 3A via Kootenay Lake Ferry.

However, commuters should note that the MV Balfour is in operation due to spring maintenance with a reduced winter schedule of 28 vehicles. Estimated re-opening of Highway 3 by DriveBC is Friday, March 29 at 9 a.m.

Anyone with information regarding this accident is asked to contact RCMP West Kootenay Traffic Services.

RCMP report fatal crash results in fuel spill, Highway 3 closure

RCMP said in a media release Thursday that Highway 3 east of Salmo is closed due to a single vehicle fatal accident near the bottom of the Kootenay Pass.

RCMP said West Kootenay Traffic and Salmo Detachment members attended to a single vehicle crash on Highway 3 Wednesday evening, which resulted in one fatality and significant fuel spill in the Salmo River.

“On Wednesday, March 27, 2019, at approximately 8:20 p.m. members of the Salmo RCMP Detachment and West Kootenay Traffic Services attended to a single vehicle crash on Highway 3 near the western bottom of Kootenay Pass, Salmo,” RCMP media release said.

“Investigators were hampered by a significant fuel spill in the Salmo River, but have confirmed the driver of the vehicle from Alberta was the lone occupant and he is deceased.”

Police said Highway 3 Kootenay Pass will be closed while environmental emergency response assesses the situation and determines when it is safe for the police to enter the area and resume the investigation.

DriveBC confirms the highway is closed and commuters heading east should detour via Highway 3A, Kootenay Lake Ferry.

However, commuters should note that the MV Balfour is in operation due to spring maintenance with a reduced winter schedule of 28 vehicles.

Estimated re-opening of Highway 3 is Friday, March 29 at 9 a.m.