Highway 63 in Northern Alberta is a busy stretch of highway connecting the communities of the Athabasca Oil Sands. As the main artery feeding in and out of oil industry hotspots like Fort McMurray, Highway 63 is travelled frequently by heavy equipment, tractor trailors and other vehicles servicing the industry. The combination of high traffic volumes and an insufficient single lane in both directions has proved fatal in many instances.
In 2014, QM became part of a team of first responders at a Highway 63 accident between two tractor trailers. QM quickly took the lead, assisting in the assessment and clean up of gasoline and diesel leaks which threatened further harm to an already terrible situation.
Highway 63 is located in a very environmentally sensitive area, passing through Northern Alberta’s forests, farms and parklands. The accident site itself was close to natural springs and fish-bearing bodies of water, so timely action was required.
Because of the time of year, spring run-off was also putting pressure on the clean-up crew as it seeped directly into marshlands at the heart of the forest, limiting options and impeding progress. The run-off also threatened not only to spread the accident’s oil and gas hydrocarbons, but also to wash away the road itself. It was imperative that provincial road construction already in progress continue on schedule. Remediation work could not set these efforts back.