Thursday, August 23, 2012

Note to PennDOT, Tanker Explosion Schuykill Expwy Exit in 1994

Today I submitted the note below to PennDOT’s Central Office via the website at the following location:

August 23rd, 2012


I write to make a suggestion for your review.  

If possible, it seems to me that Exit 331A of westbound Interstate 76 (the exit from the west bound Schuykill Expressway to the south bound Blue Route, Interstate 476) should be renamed in memoriam of the driver of the gasoline tanker truck which exploded on the overpass of that exit in the mid 1990s.  

I suggest this because as I recall the news reports of eye witnesses of the tanker truck fire, they claimed that the tanker truck was visibly on fire on the Schuykill Expressway and had been on fire for some distance.  (At the time, I was attending graduate studies at Villanova University which is very close to this exit.)  I’m confident that the driver of that tanker truck knew it was on fire and tried to get the vehicle off the Schuykill Expressway where the inevitable explosion would have likely caused many more innocent deaths. 

Again, I believe that driver knew his tanker truck was on fire and tried to get the vehicle off the more crowded Schuykill Expressway.  Otherwise, the driver could have merely stopped on the Schuykill and abandoned the vehicle to let fate decide who might have died on that road from the subsequent explosion.  

I am confident that your investigation of this matter at that time could verify whether my hypothesis about the driver’s actions is correct or not.  However, I have always been convinced that he knew the vehicle was on fire and tried to get it to a potentially less crowded location for its inevitable explosion – the result of his possible heroics cost that driver his life, of course.  To this day, I am always reminded of this fact when I take that exit where the scars of that explosion still remain on the surface of the overpass’ concrete structure.  

Anyway, it’s just a suggestion that I have wanted to make to you, PennDOT, for several years and it seems fitting that the driver of that tanker truck should be honored and remembered for his apparent likely heroic efforts which surely cost him his life while probably saving the lives of others.  Please let me know your thoughts on this matter, if you would be so kind.

Thank you,
Adam Trotter

Fatal Tanker Truck Explosion Shuts Expressway Witnesses Saw Flames Trailing From The Rig. Its Driver Died As A Ramp Over The Schuylkill Was Engulfed.

After word:  Sept. 3rd, 2013.  As the PennDOT folks were nice enough to suggest to me some time ago, today I finally forwarded this matter to Governor Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania for his review (on his website - 'Ask the Governor').  PennDOT said the naming of state highways and bridges was for to the Governor and the Legislature to decide.  AVT