TOWER— A trainee driver for a Duluth area ready-mix company accidentally dumped a considerable volume of cement on Main Street here last Friday noon, creating a major headache for public works …
TOWER— A trainee driver for a Duluth area ready-mix company accidentally dumped a considerable volume of cement on Main Street here last Friday noon, creating a major headache for public works crews who had to clean up the resulting mess in the midst of heavy traffic ahead of the weekend.
Tower Public Works Director Ben Velcheff caught sight of the truck, owned and operated by Duluth Ready Mix, as it was about halfway through town. “I saw the rocks and cement falling out the back and realized what was happening,” said Velcheff, who was in his city pickup at the time and turned around to speed off after the truck in hopes of flagging it down.
Velcheff caught up with the truck and said the driver, who was headed east, had accidentally triggered the discharge of cement after downshifting as he hit the speed zone at the west entrance to town. He left a line of cement down the middle of the eastbound lane of Main Street, from about Benchwarmers to the end of the speed zone at the east end of town.
The cement and the embedded aggregate accumulated on vehicles as they drove through the mess and it soon created a kind of dusty fog that settled on Main Street for a time. City officials quickly recognized the need for prompt clean-up to prevent the cement from drying onto the road surface, so they contacted MnDOT, which sent a snowplow to the scene to scrape off the material. City public works staff then followed up with street sweepers and dump trucks to pick up and remove the material. Total clean-up of the material took about three hours.
The city has already billed the company a total of $1,041 for the costs the city incurred in the effort and MnDOT is likely to bill for its own expenses on top of that, according to Tower Clerk-Treasurer Victoria Ranua.
A spokesperson for Duluth Ready Mix attributed the spill to driver error but declined to answer any other questions about the incident.