02/28/13 - A fatal crash in Tempe involving a semitruck closed eastbound Interstate 10 south of the Broadway Curve as well as several westbound lanes, bringing traffic to a near standstill Thursday morning for the third time this month.
The semitruck hauling textiles slammed into a barrier near Southern Avenue at about 5:30 a.m., killing the truck driver. Debris from the wreck struck two westbound cars, and an eastbound car hit the back of the semitruck. The medical examiner was in the process of removing the driver from the vehicle, said Carrick Cook, a spokesman for the Department of Public Safety.
The truck ended up on its side, smoldering, as firefighters put out the blaze. The cab was over the barrier in the westbound lanes, and boxes were strewn across the freeway. Eastbound lanes were closed as well as four westbound lanes.
Crews are working to clean up westbound lanes to allow traffic to move better and all westbound lanes may be open by 9 a.m., Cook said. Eastbound commuters in the area are being forced to exit at Arizona 143. It is expected to be an extended closure, and officials are not sure when those lanes will be reopened. Interstate 10 westbound traffic was backed up to at least Elliot Road, and eastbound traffic was backed up to the Salt River Bridge.
Arizona Department of Transportation is asking westbound I-10 commuters to take the U.S. 60 eastbound onto Loop 101 north, and then the Loop 202 westbound to avoid the wreck. Traffic on U.S. 60 westbound was heavy as drivers tried to avoid the I-10 closures.
Wednesday, a toppled semitruck hauling mulch shutdown eastbound lanes near Interstate 17 and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Westbound lanes were shut down Feb. 13 for nearly 12 hours after a semitruck carrying coffee creamer overturned on the 1-10.
The incident disrupted the morning commute while transportation officials orchestrated a massive cleanup operation. Westbound traffic was diverted onto Arizona 51.
ALERT: I-10 WB @ Broadway, some lanes re-opened (all except HOV & left lanes). I-10 EB still CLOSED. No estimated time for re-open
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