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18-Wheeler Fire Shuts Down Ramps To Highway 183 In North Austin

Traffic on Hwy 183 N frontage, October 30, 2010
Photo by Erika Aguilar for KUT News.
Heavy traffic for Saturday morning drivers, as firefighters closed off part of US 183 to battle a tanker truck fire on the US 183-Mopac flyover. Drivers on the frontage road of Hwy 183 N were redirected to avoid the access ramp.

UPDATE (1:00 p.m.):

Authorities are keeping the flyover ramp from northbound US 183 to Mopac closed, after this morning's fiery crash of a tanker truck.    The tanker truck was carrying a load of gasoline when it crashed around 6:00 a.m. Investigators believe the driver may have been going too fast on the ramp causing it to flip over.   Austin firefighters allowed the fire to burn out on its own, because they didn't know what the truck was carrying at the time and feared water could make the fire worse. Firefighters did spray water onto the flyover deck from northbound US 183 to Mopac, to cool the steel rebar inside the concrete ramp and prevent its collapse.   Officials at the Texas Department of Transportation estimate the accident caused about $500,000 in damage to the ramp.

Entrance ramps onto parts of Highway 183 in North Austin were closed this morning, because of the fiery crash of a tanker truck around 6 a.m.  The tanker was on the flyover ramp from northbound US 183 to  southbound Mopac when the 18-wheeler crashed and burst into flames, killing the driver. No other cars were involved.

Traffic around the accident site was backed up in all directions. The southbound lanes of Mopac and US 183 were shut down for more than three hours. Southbound US 183 access to Mopac was restored around 10:00 a.m. Saturday. Police were also directing traffic away from the nearby intersection at Burnet Rd. and US 183.

Getting water to the crash site on the flyover was difficult for firefighters. The fire burned until about 9 a.m. Firefighters had to run hose lines for more than 3,000 feet to cool the flyover ramp and prevent it from collapsing under the heat of the fire.