Guardrails installed on US-15 in Frederick after deadly tanker fire

Maryland transportation officials say a new addition to a stretch of U.S. Route 15 in Frederick will help shield residents from crashes, such as this month’s tanker disaster.

Work crews worked late Monday to deploy guardrails along northbound Route 15 near Rosemont Avenue, more than two weeks after a tanker fire spread to nearby residences and sent a column of smoke soaring over the Maryland city.

Maryland Department of Transportation spokesman Charlie Gischlar said the guardrails, now covering a quarter-mile of Route 15 northbound between 7th Street and Rosemont Avenue, will help mitigate the impact of highway incidents on residential areas.

“Once we get a preliminary police report, our traffic engineers will go out and make an evaluation of the entire area where that crash happened,” Gischlar told WTOP. “We’re very confident right now that a guardrail is going to help protect and add that barrier there to separate that community with the U.S. 15 northbound lanes.”

A tanker carrying around 8,650 gallons of gasoline crashed and exploded off the right side of the road on Saturday, March 4, claiming the driver’s life and damaging six homes. As eyewitness footage of a fireball engulfing homes went viral, community members pleaded with local officials for a structure to seal off the neighborhood from the highway.

Gischlar acknowledged that the new guardrails are an “interim” solution, and that more substantial noise barriers are planned as part of a Route 15 expansion project tentatively set to begin in 2026.

“When you expand a highway, you have to then mitigate for the sound that’s associated with the new lanes of the highway, so that is in the works and it is moving forward,” Gischlar said.

WTOP’s Dick Uliano contributed to this report.

Alejandro Alvarez

Alejandro Alvarez joined WTOP as a digital journalist and editor in June 2018. He is a reporter and photographer focusing on politics, political activism and international affairs.

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