RIVER FALLS, Wis. (WCCO) – The driver of a semi truck was killed Monday after a crash and fire that closed Interstate 94 in western Wisconsin Monday morning.
The semi truck was reportedly a fuel tanker carrying nearly 7,500 gallons of fuel. Authorities said the tanker was headed eastbound on the highway around 5:30 a.m. when it crossed the median and came to rest in the westbound lanes.
Authorities say the truck struck the northside of the Wisconsin 65 bridge pier, causing the rear of the trailer to separate from the cab and explode.
The explosion destroyed the semi and killed the lone occupant, who was from northern Wisconsin, according to The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT).
The driver’s name has not yet been released.
WisDOT says the carrier is from Kane Transportation Inc., which is out of Sauk Centre, Minn.
Traffic cameras showed a semi fully engulfed in flames at mile marker 10 in the city of Roberts, Wis.
Traffic — both eastbound and westbound — was rerouted. At around 6 p.m., traffic in all lanes resumed.
Due to the heat, the pavement of I-94 will need to be repaired. Crews are milling off the damaged pavement. Drivers should expect rough driving conditions in the area, WisDOT says.
Weight limits on Highway 65 will also be posted at 40 tons.
The bridge near which the trailer exploded is structurally sound, but it is being replaced as part of a pre-existing improvement plan, WisDOT says.