UPDATE: Dubuque train derailment traffic detours lifted - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATE: Dubuque train derailment traffic detours lifted

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Six tankers were affected by the train derailment. They're all carrying ethanol. Six tankers were affected by the train derailment. They're all carrying ethanol.
Photo courtesy Jeff Pluemer Photo courtesy Jeff Pluemer
Photo courtesy Jeff Pluemer Photo courtesy Jeff Pluemer
Photo courtesy Jeff Pluemer Photo courtesy Jeff Pluemer
DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

Northbound lanes of US Highway 151/61 are now open after being closed all day Wednesday, due to the pick-up process after a train derailment.

The traffic detour through the city, which was also in effect, is no longer necessary.

Several train cars carrying a flammable substance derailed in Dubuque shortly after midnight Wednesday.

It happened on the Canadian National Railway tracks along Ice Harbor Drive and US Highway 151/61.

The tankers were carrying full loads of ethanol, which is a flammable substance used in car fuel. However, Dubuque Fire Chief Dan Brown said, hazmat officials found no leakage.

Heavy lifting crews are on the scene, righting the tipped cars.

Four cars completely tipped over, but six were affected altogether. (The other two were pulled partially from the tracks.)

Northbound lanes of US Highway 161/51 were closed near the scene of the accident. Officials were re-routing traffic through the downtown area.

Plenty of people throughout the day, including Dubuque man Bob Johanningmeier, stopped to check out the scene.

"I was surprised that it was so many cars," Johanningmeier said. "I thought maybe one or two, but it looked like it was six or seven."

He heard about the derailment on his car radio.

"It's just a beautiful day. It's a great day to be out, and I've got the time for it, so that's why I'm here for a few minutes," he said.

Considering each tanker filled with ethanol weighs about 100 tons, the pick-up process is not something to rush, Canadian National Railway spokesperson Patrick Waldron said.

"They have some heavy equipment on the scene, where they'll lift them up, re-rail them and move them away from the immediate area, and that process is ongoing and expected to take into the evening," Waldron said.

Although hazmat crews found no leaks, the Iowa DNR and the Canadian National Railway are taking precautions nonetheless, Brown said.

"They've got all environmental things taken care of," Brown said. "They've got storm sewers diked up and stuff, so if there is any spill - but there's nothing leaking. It doesn't look like there's any significant damage that would cause one, but it's all precautionary things that they do just to make sure."

Crews have been on the scene since just after midnight, and they'll be taking their time with this clean-up. Each tanker filled with ethanol weighs around 100 tons, so this is no small job.

Nobody was injured in the derailment, and crews with the railway arrived several hours after the incident to right the tipped cars.

Rick Dunwoody was just getting off work at the nearby Diamond Jo Casino, when he heard the train derail.

"I heard the biggest bang I have heard in over a year and a half, and it was insane. I knew something happened. It wasn't regular," he said.

Brown said the train was moving at its usual slow speed. He said officials don't yet know what caused the derailment that affected six tankers.

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