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December 18. 2013 10:07AM

UPDATE: Stretch of I-293 South, North lanes reopen after propane tanker crashes


A propane tanker rolled over in an accident on I-293 North in Manchester, shutting down the highway for the morning and on into the afternoon. (THOMAS ROY/UNION LEADER)

Evening Update: All southbound lanes of I-293 were opened to traffic just before 5 p.m., while the left lane on the northbound side between exits 6 and 7 opened around 6:30 p.m. The right lane remained closed.
Initially, one southbound lane of travel was shut down as workers prepared to remove the propane from the truck. Bill Boynton, public information officer for the state Department of Transportation, said the stretch of highway from Exit 7, after the Amoskeag traffic circle, to the split with Interstate 93 was closed at 11:30 a.m.
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MANCHESTER - Manchester Fire District Chief Michael Gamache said this afternoon that the situation on I-293 involving an overturned propane tanker is "under control," though the highway will likely remain closed until after 6 p.m.

"The tanker has been uprighted, and the process of transferring the product to another tanker is underway," said Gamache at 3:15 p.m. "That process will probably take a couple of hours, then it will be another hour or so to remove the vehicle. It's likely that the highway will remain closed a few more hours, probably until 6 or so."

Gamache said all residents that were evacuated from residences near the accident earlier in the day have been allowed to return home.

"I don't want to say the danger is gone, but the situation is under control," said Gamache.

Interstate 293 - North and South near the Hooksett border - had been closed at 11:30 a.m. so emergency workers could move a 9,000 gallon propane tank truck involved in a crash and remove the gas from it.

Bill Boynton, public information officer for the state Department of Transportation (DOT), said the stretch of highway from Exit 7, after the Amoskeag traffic circle, to the split with Interstate 93 will be closed for a minimum of three hours. Motorists should avoid the area entirely and try to use Interstate 93.

"That's the way to go," he said.

Message boards along the state's highways are alerting motorists to the closures and detours. Boynton said the operation to get the propane tanker back on the road will require an extensive rerouting of traffic both northbound and southbound.

I-293 South will be closed after the Hooksett tolls at the I-293/93 split and all traffic will be directed to I-93 south. I-293 north will be closed at Exit 6 (Amoskeag Circle) and traffic will have to cross the Merrimack River Bridge and head north on Route 3.

Route 3A will be closed during the operation due to its proximity to the crash.

Manchester Fire Chief James Burkush said state and Manchester police evacuated two single family homes on Front Street and an entire condominium complex for safety reasons. He said the William C. Cashin Senior Activity Center on the city's West Side will be used to shelter those residents who need it.

Two other cars were involved in the crash, which happened just before 6 a.m. north of Exit 7 near the Amoskeag traffic circle, according to Burkush. He had no information on injuries, if any.

Initially, one southbound lane of travel was shut down as workers began to prepare removing the propane from the truck.

Burkush said the tank is filled with 9,000 gallons of propane and while it was tipped onto its side, it was not leaking.


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