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On July 11 a loaded gas tanker went over the Interstate 10 and Interstate 25 interchange bridge "too fast" and overturned which caused the fuel to spill out and engulf the entire bridge in flames.
“When the truck flipped the tank busted open and lit on fire,” said Ami Evans, a spokesperson for the New Mexico Department of Transportation. “So the fuel went through the drainage structures and burnt through from the inside out.”
She said the bridge has been closed since then and was originally supposed to reopen mid-October but now is delayed until mid-December. Estimated reopening dates are between Dec. 8 and 15.
She said the environmental cleanup is taking longer than expected. Getting the materials for the repair caused a delay as well. Evans said repairing the bridge will cost the state around $1.4 million.
“We put in a request for emergency financing, had to wait to get that funding made available. Then we could find contractors who then had to get the supplies,” she said.
The incident also burned off up to four inches of concrete, Evans said.
“It was such a high heat that destroyed and disintegrated the concrete, they had to grind it down and rebuild” she said. “The base support structure remained perfectly sound.”
Speed was the main indicator for the crash, State Police investigators confirmed, they put an arrest warrant out for the driver’s arrest. The truck’s driver initially ran on the day of the accident but later turned himself in.
"It was a very pricy speeding incident that could have really been avoided," Evans said.