MDOT to install guardrail on Route 15 after tanker explosion in Frederick

The meeting inside Frederick High School's auditorium Wednesday started with a moment of silence for Ronald Leroy Heiston.

The 58-year-old was behind the wheel of the tanker truck that crashed and went up in flames on Saturday, March 4th.

"I feel terribly sorry for the gentleman that lost his life," said Kelly Sanders.

State and local leaders including Andrew Radcliffe with the Maryland Department of Transportation also shared their condolences.

"One death on any of our highways is too many," Radcliffe said. 

Leaders, including Frederick's Mayor Michael O'Connor, hosted a town hall to address some concerns of those who live nearby.

"These two communities have had to endure noise and safety concerns for years," one resident said. 

John Wenzel attended the meeting to get an update on a proposed construction project that is coming to the area.

"The road is supposed to be widened in the near future, but the accident shows that a few things need to be done sooner rather than later," he said.

Trees are currently the only barrier between Route 15 and Apple Ave.

Radcliffe says MDOT is working on an immediate solution.


Frederick tanker explosion: Residents question US-15 safety after deadly crash

Residents in a Frederick neighborhood where a tanker truck crashed and exploded on Saturday are raising questions about roadway safety along that strip of US-15.

"Move to install as early as Sunday night a guardrail," he said.

But neighbors say a guardrail isn't enough.

"There needs to be a wall," Sanders suggested. "You can bust through a guardrail. That truck could've gone through a guardrail. That's not going to stop that truck. It's an 18-wheeler." 

Sanders lives off Route 15, also known as Frederick Freeway.

"Living through that was extremely scary," she recalled.

MDOT says they are in a design phase of a long-term improvement project, and they are looking into a wall.

Aside from wanting a permanent barrier to protect families who live along the busy road, some residents are asking leaders to reduce the speed on the road and add a police presence.

"There's also reckless driving that occurs frequently too," Wenzel said. 

At the meeting, neighbors did applaud leaders for their response and cleanup efforts, but they say more needs to be done to help prevent this from happening again.

"This could've been downright disastrous. And the next one might be. Thank you!" said one resident.

Officials with the state's department of environment were also present at the town hall. They said they are still dealing with soil contamination in the area, but there is a crew coming in on Thursday to remove the soil that was impacted.