North KY to Get New Hazmat Signage Following Accident

Posted on 4/19/2021 by Roger Marks

To better communicate hazardous materials restrictions, officials in Kentucky plan to install new or upgraded signage in twelve locations in Boone and Kenton counties. The effort is, in part, a response to a November 2020 accident involving a truck carrying potassium hydroxide across the Brent Spence Bridge.

The bridge, which opened in 1963 and connects Covington, KY to Cincinnati, OH, was reportedly closed for 41 days for repairs following the accident. The stretch of Interstate 75 between I-275 and Ohio, which includes the bridge, was designated as a Restricted Route for all hazardous materials in 2013.  

Hazmat route restrictions—enumerated in the National Hazardous Materials Route Register or NHMRR-- apply to vehicles carrying types and quantities of hazardous materials that require hazmat placards. The volume of potassium hydroxide aboard the truck involved in the Brent Spence Bridge accident was below that threshold.

Still, local transportation authorities believe clearer communication of the restrictions on hazardous materials on this stretch of roadway will help to prevent more severe incidents in the future.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released an updated NHMRR in June 2020.

Kentucky Today has more details.

When Are Hazmat Placards Required on Motor Vehicles?

Hazmat placards can be required for hazardous materials transported in bulk or non-bulk packagings.
For bulk packagings, like tanker trucks, a placard is always required unless the 49 CFR regulations indicate otherwise. Placards are also required for any quantity of high-consequence hazards like explosives, poison gases, and several others.

For most other shipments of non-bulk packagings, placards are required only when more than 454 kg (1,001 lbs.) of hazmat is present on a single vehicle.

The regulations for hazmat placards are found in 49 CFR 172, Subpart F. To view the requirements for displaying placards on a vehicle see 49 CFR 172.504(a) and 172.516.

Although placards are displayed on the vehicle, it is the shipper’s responsibility to offer placards when the quantity shipped requires them to be used.

What is the National Hazmat Route Registry?

The NHMRR is a listing of all United States road and highway designations and restrictions concerning the transport of hazardous materials by motor vehicle.

The restrictions apply to motor vehicles transporting hazardous materials in commerce for which placards are required. The regulations at 49 CFR 5112(a) and (b) also allow US DOT's Secretary to extend the route restrictions to any vehicle that transports a hazardous material in commerce.

Hazmat routes are reported by State and Tribal governments to ensure hazmat, logistics, and safety personnel can plan the safest route for hazmat transportation by highway. 

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