Alaska Highway north of Fort St. John open to passenger vehicles only

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The driver of a commercial tanker is believed dead following a crash and explosion along the Alaska Highway between Fort St. John and Fort Nelson, B.C. (Submitted - image credit)
The driver of a commercial tanker is believed dead following a crash and explosion along the Alaska Highway between Fort St. John and Fort Nelson, B.C. (Submitted - image credit)

A section of the Alaska Highway north of Fort St. John is reopened to passenger vehicles after a fatal fiery crash led to a partial closure on Thursday.

According to DriveBC, single-lane alternating traffic was allowed onto the Alaska Highway on Saturday. As of Sunday morning, it opened to passenger vehicles, travel trailers and RVs. The Sikani River Bridge remained closed to commercial traffic. Commercial vehicles includes any type of motor vehicle that transports goods or paying customers, including a semi-trailer trucks or a coach busses.

An update on the DriveBC website said due to the high heat of the vehicle incident, a detailed engineering inspection of the bridge is required.

On Thursday, the RCMP said one person is believed to have died in the fiery explosion after a commercial tanker truck carrying flammable liquids crashed on the Sikani River Bridge, approximately 200 kilometres north of Fort St. John, shortly before 8:30 p.m. PT Thursday.

Photos captured high-reaching flames and a large plume of toxic smoke as the tanker was completely engulfed by the fire.

Police say they believe the vehicle hit a barrier on the bridge and then caught fire but don't know what caused the collision.

They also said while they believe the driver is dead, they have been unable to thoroughly search the scene due to the dangers posed by materials in the truck.

CBC News reached out to the RCMP on Sunday about details and confirmation of the fatality, but did not receive a response.

Further assessments are still being made by provincial authorities. Drivers are encouraged to check DriveBC for further updates.