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Freeway significantly damaged by tanker fire

SALT LAKE CITY – Traffic is flowing through I-15 near 1800 South after the intense tanker fire that had all southbound lanes closed down.  However, people who frequently use that part of the freeway should expect more repairs in the upcoming weeks.

A large truck carrying seven thousand gallons in gas and one thousand gallons of diesel fuel rolled after a 17 year-old driver reportedly swerved across all lanes of I-15, smashing into a concrete barrier and into the semi.  Surprisingly, both drivers only had minor injuries.

The freeway, however, was not so lucky.

“We’ve got about 12 to 13 concrete panels that have significant damage.  We’re going to have to replace every panel in the next coming weeks when the temperatures warm up a little bit,” according to UDOT Spokesman John Gleason.

The fire burned so hot, it did damage that doesn’t happen very often to concrete.

“Several inches down, it’s been burned through, so all of that is going to have to be dug out,” Gleason says, adding, “You can imagine the intensity of the fire if it’s damaging concrete like this.”

Crews were able to lay down a temporary patch of asphalt so I-15 could be used, but, the temperatures are too cold for construction crews to lay down the permanent repairs.  The department has not set a schedule for when this will happen.

Gleason says this accident couldn’t have happened in a worse spot of the freeway.

“There are 270 thousand cars that pass by here on an average day.  This was not the time or the place where you want this to happen,” he says.