Early in October, an oil tanker truck jackknifed at Brown Circle, spilling thousands of gallons of oil into the Saugus River. Ward 1 Councillor Joanne McKenna and Ward 3 Councillor Arthur Guinasso are now asking that the mayor request the state’s transportation department to take some preventative measures at the city’s rotaries to help prevent further accidents.
McKenna said there should be flashing warning lights or signs at Brown Circle warning trucks that the rotary is a rollover hazard. “On October 4, an oil tanker with 10,000 gallons of oil jackknifed going around Brown Circle and spilled oil onto the roadways,” said McKenna. “More importantly, it went into the Saugus River, affecting the wetlands, water lands, plants and wildlife. People sitting and eating at a local restaurant saw the oil passing by them.”
The councillor said she is asking for the warning lights because this is not the first time a major rollover and spill has happened at the rotary.
Ward 5 Councillor John Powers said he got a call from a local lobster fisherman who told him the oil went into the drainage system and carried all the way to the Pines River and the Point of Pines Yacht Club. He said the fisherman had to throw away 182 lobsters he caught that day because of the spill.
Powers said the hazards with heavy trucks extend beyond Brown Circle. “It’s not just Brown Circle, but every circle in the city where there’s heavy trucks coming into it,” he said. “There should be some type of warning light to let people know they need to slow down. At Brown Circle, that has probably happened down there at least three or four times that I can remember.”
In addition to the warning lights, McKenna also requested that the mayor ask the appropriate state agencies to place hay bales near the Saugus River. “Every time there is an oil spill down at Brown Circle, it goes into the Saugus River, and it affects the plants and the wildlife and the waterways,” she said. “Hay bales soak up everything; they soak up the oil, and it would be really good if we could do this before another disaster happens.”