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U.S. Highway 12 west of Murdock re-opens to traffic

MURDOCK — U.S. Highway 12 west of Murdock re-opened for traffic at 12:30 p.m. today, two to three days before officials thought it could be done.

The highway was opened shortly after workers removed the ruptured anhydrous ammonia tank that had struck in an accident around 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday near the Koch Nitrogen Fertilizer terminal.

There is only some minor clean-up work taking place at the site yet. Bill McGeary, Swift County emergency management director, said some of the ammonia that had been mixed with water is being cleaned up from the ground there. It poses no risk.

Authorities had thought the clean-up and detour would continue into the weekend, but McGeary said a change in tactics in how the damaged tank was being emptied of its anhydrous ammonia provided a big break for all of those involved. The tank was emptied by 11 o’clock last night, and workers were able to focus their efforts on removing the damaged tank and semi-truck.

The truck was proceeding north on a township road after leaving the terminal when the rear of its trailer was struck by an east bound Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad train.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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