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TransCanada Highway reopens in Cape Breton after tanker overturns on Kellys Mountain

Truck driver Troy Arsenault is thankful no one was hurt when his tanker overturned on Highway 105 going over Kellys Mountain early Monday morning. (Tom Ayers/CBC - image credit)
Truck driver Troy Arsenault is thankful no one was hurt when his tanker overturned on Highway 105 going over Kellys Mountain early Monday morning. (Tom Ayers/CBC - image credit)

Troy Arsenault was hauling liquid oxygen over Kellys Mountain in Victoria County, N.S., at around 3 a.m. on Monday when his tanker overturned.

He wasn't injured, but Highway 105 — the TransCanada Highway — was shut down for most of the day as a precaution, due to a slow leak.

Arsenault said the rain he had been driving in all night turned to slushy snow at the higher elevation and his tanker simply wasn't able to make it around the first curve at the lookoff on the downhill side of the mountain.

"The trailer started sliding to one side, to the left side, and hit the guardrail and it flipped the trailer and broke off the fifth wheel," Arsenault said. "I got lucky the truck didn't flip with it."

The longtime trucker from Rogersville, N.B., was on his way to the Marine Atlantic ferry to deliver the cargo to hospitals in Newfoundland.

Kellys Mountain is about 265 metres high and the Bras d'Or Lookoff is near the peak.

The tanker could be seen at the edge of a lookoff up near the top of Kellys Mountain on the Seal Island Bridge side overlooking the Bras d'Or Lake.
The tanker could be seen at the edge of a lookoff up near the top of Kellys Mountain on the Seal Island Bridge side overlooking the Bras d'Or Lake.

The tanker could be seen at the edge of a lookoff up near the top of Kellys Mountain on the Seal Island Bridge side overlooking the Bras d'Or Lake. (Tom Ayers/CBC)

Arsenault said he had slowed down to 50 km/h and wasn't scared when the accident happened.

"I only got scared after I walked up the hill and looked down the cliff," he said.

"I said 'Holy Jesus.' If the truck would have flipped, I probably would have ended up down there. I was thankful to be standing and talking to the guys outside, the firemen and them. Yeah, could have been a lot worse."

Arsenault said despite separating from the trailer, his truck only sustained minor damage.

He said he was more worried about someone coming down the hill right after him, but the tanker wasn't blocking the road.

Arsenault said he was also thankful he was unhurt.

"[I was] very lucky," he said. "Called my parents ... and my mom was happy."

Nova Scotia's Public Works crews blocked the TransCanada Highway on Kellys Mountain for most of the day Monday as a precaution.
Nova Scotia's Public Works crews blocked the TransCanada Highway on Kellys Mountain for most of the day Monday as a precaution.

Nova Scotia's Public Works crews blocked the TransCanada Highway on Kellys Mountain for most of the day Monday as a precaution. (Tom Ayers/CBC)

Arsenault said liquid oxygen isn't explosive and there was little danger from the slow leak in the trailer.

Volunteer fire departments from nearby Ross Ferry and Big Bras d'Or attended from Victoria County, along with the hazardous materials unit from Cape Breton Regional Municipality.

RCMP were on the scene early, but left after Nova Scotia Public Works employees took over traffic control.

They had the highway blocked all day, waiting for another tanker to arrive and offload the liquid oxygen.

The highway reopened about 12 hours after the incident, around 3:30 p.m.

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