The Bismarck Mandan Metropolitan Planning Organization might propose designated routes to move hazardous waste material by vehicle and train.
Rachel Drewlow of the MPO said at a Tuesday MPO meeting that its planners will meet with Burleigh County and Bismarck engineering and emergency management officials at 1:30 p.m. Friday. A similar meeting is pending with Morton County and Mandan officials.
Drewlow said the group will start by compiling criteria of what the officials would want in a hazardous materials route.
Steve Saunders, planner for the MPO, said trains also would be discussed after the Dec. 30 fuel explosion near Casselton. Lincoln Mayor Bob Johnston said it’s becoming more difficult to know what products are being transported as hazardous materials.
“When you think of the dangerous materials that are out there, it’s good to have routes for these,” said Mandan Mayor Arlyn Van Beek.
“The outcome we hope for is designated routes for hazardous materials for both sides of the river. ... What we want to find out is the criteria we’re going to need to develop the routes,” Saunders said.
If routes are proposed, he said the city and county commissions could decide whether to approve them. “With the train wreck in the east part of the state, it brought more (concern) on the topic that we should be more prepared for accidents,” Saunders said. “Just because there hasn’t been a lot in the immediate MPO area, it doesn’t mean it won’t happen. It makes us more wary”
“We’ll start with the ‘inventoried’ areas (where) we know there are hazardous materials. ... We know the trucks have to deliver and pick up materials from those places. ... It’s a trade-off between not having too close to those locations and not too close to residences where more people can be harmed,” Saunders said.
Bismarck Emergency Manager Gary Stockert said it’s a good discussion. He said the meeting will determine whether there needs to be special signs where trucks are already carrying hazardous materials. There will be discussion of whether trucks are transporting materials where they shouldn’t be, he said.
Stockert noted that hazardous materials are delivered for regular uses throughout the city. Chlorine is already delivered to swimming pools and for the water treatment plant in the city. Trucks deliver gasoline to different stations in the city, he said.
He said the city fire department carries a list of where hazardous material is stored in the city.