Gering streets blocked off after grain spill
GERING — Traffic in Gering was re-routed after a grain spill on M Street Friday.
Gering Police and Gering Volunteer Fire Department responded to a grain spill on M Street/Old Oregon Trail Road and Five Rocks Road extending from 10th Street to almost the Legacy of the Plains Museum at 10:45 a.m.
Gering Fire Chief Nathan Flowers said they noticed that a semi trailer, carrying corn mash and traveling in the westbound lane on M Street, had the wet grain coming out the back. The back gate on the 26-ton trailer malfunctioned and released two tons within a 14-block section. While the material was not categorized as hazardous waste by the Department of Transportation, Flowers said once the grain fell on the roadway, it became hazardous to traffic.
“Because of the material’s thickness and wetness, once it gets onto the road in a large quantity, it gets really slick,” he said. “We were concerned about public safety.”
Twelve Gering firefighters used seven apparatuses, as well as assistance from the City of Gering street and water departments, to remove the grain from the road. As they began sweeping, they realized the grain was not in a state to be swept.
“We used a water and foam application to move it to the curb and the city swept it from the roadway,” said Flowers.
They used containment booms to minimize the flow into nearby storm drains and once the material was pushed into the curb, street sweepers collected the material before loading it into a trailer.
During the clean-up, the semi driver parked on the shoulder of Old Oregon Trail near the Legacy of the Plains Museum. A Nebraska State Patrol trooper was on scene to inspect the semi after the Gering Police Department referred the spill to the State Patrol because the vehicle was going toward a state highway. The driver was headed to Lyman.
Cleanup was underway until 12:30 p.m. with some areas of M Street opening sooner. Gering Police Sgt. Ken Schulte said seven officers were on hand to block traffic as responders got the road as clean as possible. Traffic in the westbound lane was closed due to the slickness of the roads.