Transporting toxic chemicals on our highways


The truck crash that forced the highway closure and evacuation in St. Catharines was carrying about 45 pressurized cylinders of phosphine gas when it flipped over on the QEW near Martindale road. It’s also a very common chemical and one that’s transported regularly.

The truck was coming from Cytec in Niagara Falls, heading for Toronto when mechanical failure caused it to crash. The cab ended up in the Toronto bound lanes and the trailer, full of chemicals into the Niagara bound lanes.

As soon as fire crews showed up they were able to use the placard on the back of the truck, which read “2199” to determine it was phosphine. From there they were are able to use their emergency response guidebook and read all about the chemical and know just how far the evacuation zone should be.

Phosphine and other toxic chemicals are transported in secure containers. The Ministry of Transportation has annual, as well as random safety inspections for trucks. Drivers are also required to check their trucks daily.

OPP are still investigating what caused this crash and the province says they’ll also be looking into what happened.


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