I-35 reopens after fatal 18-wheeler fire

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by SHANNON MURRAY / KVUE News and KVUE.com

Bio | Email | Follow: @ShannonM_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on January 15, 2013 at 1:39 PM

Updated Monday, Oct 21 at 5:36 PM

AUSTIN -- Part of Interstate 35 was closed for close to 24 hours after police say an 18-wheeler caught fire, leaving one person dead.

It happened Tuesday in South Austin on northbound I-35 at Slaughter Creek just south of the South Park Meadows shopping center.

Police say the truck carrying window sills was headed northbound when it swerved for an unknown reason and struck a concrete pillar under the Slaughter Creek underpass. The driver was ejected from the truck, and the truck burst into flames.

Witnesses tell KVUE they heard an explosion. One witness said it shook her nearby apartment.

Austin police say the driver, identified as a white male in his 50s, died at the scene. No one else was injured.

Both northbound and southbound lanes were closed for a time Tuesday afternoon. As of 1 p.m., southbound lanes had re-opened. Northbound lanes on I-35 at Slaughter Creek re-opened just before 5 p.m. Tuesday.

The northbound outside lane was closed between Onion Creek Parkway and the Slaughter Creek overpass from 8 p.m. Tuesday and until 5 a.m. Wednesday to repair the damaged guardrail.

The Slaughter Creek overpass was expected to be closed for 24 to 48 hours while its condition was assessed. It reopened Wednesday morning.

Tuesday the Texas Department of Transportation temporally lifted the tolls on State Highway 45 between Interstate 35 and U.S. 183 due to the accident. The tolls for SH 45 were re-instated around 5:15 p.m. Tuesday.

Click here to watch a viewer video of the crash's aftermath.

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