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Accidents close Pennsylvania I-81 and Oklahoma I-40

Truck-related accidents have closed interstates in Oklahoma and Pennsylvania; a trucker died Wednesday in an Arkansas construction zone crash.

The Trucker News Services

5/9/2013

It’s been a tough two days on two of the nation’s busiest trucking lanes.

Thursday morning, state police in Pennsylvania and Oklahoma are reporting major accidents have closed an interstate following on the heels of a major crash in an Arkansas construction zone that took the life of an Oklahoma trucker.

.Pennsylvania state police said Thursday morning that Interstate 81 near Harrisburg has been closed due to a tanker truck fire on an overpass above the highway.

The fire was reported about 6:15 a.m. Thursday on an overpass carrying Route 322 over the northbound lanes of the interstate.

Burning fuel is reported to be dripping onto I-81 and state police say both the state highway and the interstate are closed as a result.

It was not immediately clear what caused the fire, or who owns the truck. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Police could not say when the roads may reopen.

All lanes of Interstate 40 at Midwest City, Okla., were closed early Thursday after a tractor-trailer flipped over.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says the crash happened shortly after 5 a.m. on Interstate 40 at Air Depot. Eastbound traffic is being diverted at Sooner Road and westbound traffic is being diverted at Douglas Boulevard.

Emergency crews have responded. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

ASSOCIATED PRESS UPDATE, I-40 ACCIDENT:

MIDWEST CITY, Okla. — The westbound lanes of Interstate 40 have reopened at Midwest City after an overturned tractor-trailer snarled traffic for hours.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation says the westbound lanes reopened late Thursday morning. The crash happened shortly after 5 a.m. and shut down traffic in both directions.

Eastbound traffic is still being diverted at Sooner Road.

Authorities say about 150 gallons of diesel fuel spilled from the truck, and crews are working to clean it up.

No serious injuries have been reported.

Arkansas authorities have released additional details about a six-vehicle fatal wreck Wednesday in a construction zone on Interstate 40, including the name of a driver who was killed.

According to an Arkansas State Police report, eastbound traffic had slowed or stopped at the 199 mile marker near Hazen in Prairie County when a tractor-trailer driven by 60-year-old Carl W. Stark hit the rear of another tractor-trailer.

That set off a chain-reaction collision in the single-lane construction zone where three other trucks and a minivan were also hit.

Stark of Crescent, Okla., died from unspecified injuries.

The wreck stopped traffic on the highway for more than five hours.

ASSOCIATED PRESS UPDATE, I-81 ACCIDENT:

HARRISBURG, Pa. — State police are releasing new information on the tanker truck fire and explosion that has closed Interstate 81 and Route 322 near Harrisburg.

Trooper Robert Hicks says a fully loaded diesel tanker overturned on the northbound interstate on-ramp to westbound Route 322 about 6:10 a.m. Thursday.

Hicks says the truck caught fire and multiple explosions resulted, though the 52-year-old driver — who is not otherwise being identified — escaped with minor injuries. He was taken to a Harrisburg hospital.

The truck was coming from Carlisle but no other vehicles or people were involved.

Burning fuel was dripping down from the Route 322 overpass onto I-81 and both roads were to remain closed until PennDOT crews can determine whether they're safe to use.

The deck and beams of the overpass appeared to be badly damaged.

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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