Huge construction scraper loses wheel, spills hydraulic fluid onto roadway

Two construction loaders were used to lift the scraper and remove the large wheel from the roadway, Washington City, Utah, March 2, 2018 | Photo courtesy of Washington City Fire Department, St. George News

WASHINGTON CITY — The front wheel of a large construction scraper became detached and began leaking gallons of hydraulic fluid Friday in Washington City, a leak that was contained as cleanup crews worked to minimize the damage.

Wheel being moved after it became detached from large construction scraper, leaking hydraulic fluid across the roadway, Washington City, Utah, March 2, 2018 | Photo courtesy of Washington City Fire Department, St. George News

Washington City firefighters and police were dispatched to the spill at the intersection of South Washington Fields Road and East Washington Dam Road shortly after 9 a.m.

Responders found the construction scraper blocking the westbound lane of East Washington Dam Road and hydraulic fluid streaming across the roadway.

The driver of the scraper was able to plug the leak temporarily, minimizing the amount that drained onto the roadway. The leak was contained to approximately 15 gallons, Washington City firefighter Julio Reyes said.

Traffic was diverted away from the intersection to allow responders to tend to the scene and clear the hazard.

Fractured spindle that caused wheel to become detached and hydraulic fluid to leak out, Washington City, Utah, March 2, 2018 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

The driver turned from Washington Fields Road onto Washington Dam Road heading east, responders said, when the front driver’s side spindle, part of the suspension system that carries the hub for the wheel, completely fractured.

Once that occurred the wheel was no longer securely attached to the equipment, rendering it inoperable.

Meanwhile, the damaged spindle also allowed hydraulic fluid to leak out of the scraper until the driver plugged the leak with materials he had on hand while two large construction loaders were dispatched to the scene.

View from underneath the scraper showing the wheel is no longer secured to the equipment after the spindle fractured, Washington City, Utah, March 2, 2018 | Photo courtesy of Washington City Fire Department, St. George News

The first loader was used to remove the tire from the disabled scraper while the second loader lifted the weight off of the front of the scraper, allowing it to be moved out of the roadway.

Crews from the Washington City Fire Department, the Public Works Department and Dennett Construction “worked together to remove the hazard,” Reyes said, and after an hour the intersection was reopened for traffic.

The hydraulic fluid spill was confined to the road and did not spread near any vegetation or drains, he said.

Washington City Police officers were assisted by the Utah Highway Patrol to redirect traffic while Washington Dam Road was closed in both directions intermittently to allow the scraper to be moved, the tire to be removed and to prevent vehicles from driving through the hazard.

No injuries to work crews or responders were reported.

This report is based on statements from police or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

Ed. note March 3: This report is updated to clarify statement inconsistencies as to the direction the driver turned onto Washington Dam Road. The driver turned off northbound Washington Fields Road onto Washington Dam Road east, a right turn.

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  • Caveat_Emptor March 3, 2018 at 8:23 am

    Cody: Just a note that the guy was turning “right” into Washington Dam Road, if he had been heading northbound on Washington Fields Road. It is a T-intersection at that light.

    • Joyce Kuzmanic March 3, 2018 at 12:39 pm

      Caveat E, you are correct. Cody has confirmed the turn direction was a right turn as you surmise. I have revised the report to resolve the inherent conflicts in the statement.

      Thank you so much!

      Joyce Kuzmanic
      Editor in Chief

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