If you were out in your car Saturday in Utah County, chances are you probably encountered the major traffic incident in Lehi — and not just the normal traffic and construction impasse.
A tanker transporting butane flipped on the northbound side of Interstate 15, closing all lanes of traffic for literally the entire day, with the southbound lanes not opening until the evening, and the northbound lanes not opening until after 8 p.m.
It was a traffic nightmare. Motorists were stuck between Draper and Lehi for literal hours, if they didn’t take notice of the signs, tweets, and other alerts warning to take alternative routes.
There was definitely plenty of lashing out on social media from the unaware; and we don’t fault them their misery. Driving past it near the Point of the Mountain, any traveler would feel remorse and compassion for the poor thousands of souls caught in an unmoving hell.
However, this incident wasn’t a typical construction closure that area of I-15 is used to (and also dreads). After the tanker crashed, it started leaking and created an extremely catastrophic situation for drivers and residents in the immediate area should it explode and catch fire. This required responders to transfer the butane from one vehicle to a new one; what a dangerous situation they were willing to undertake for the safety of all those surrounding.
While most were out spending time with their families and out shopping, employees with Utah Department of Transportation, Utah Highway Patrol and other local public safety officials were consumed for nine hours in redirecting traffic and safely diffusing the situation. Instead of griping at the situation, we should be grateful we have so many fellow residents willing to work through these kinds of situations to protect the public.