UPDATE: Driver dies after tanker truck fire shut down traffic on I-40 at Crystal Hill

smoke at Young Road bridge (photo by viewer Nellie Mosley)

NORTH LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - Wreckers have begun clearing wreckage off of I-40 after a tanker truck overturned Thursday afternoon, completely shutting down westbound traffic and backing up cars from Crystal Hill all the way to Highway 107.

Sgt. Brian Dedrick told Channel 7 News the crash started a fire on the interstate under the Crystal Hill overpass.

The truck driver was medflighted to an area hospital. He later died from his injuries.

The fire reached high enough that part of the overpass caught on fire as well. The bridge at Young Road was shut down because of damage to the bridge.

North Little Rock firefighters said the damage was so extensive, they had to call in inspectors to make sure the bridge wouldn't collapse. Those inspectors said the overpass was safe enough for drivers to pass under it but damage to bridge's support structure was too extensive to allow drivers to use the overpass.

The bridge will remain closed indefinitely but inspectors believe the damage could be repaired.

The Young Road overpass was first built in 1963. It is 220 feet long and supports around 750 vehicles every day.

As of 3:00, eastbound traffic on I-40 was moving but westbound traffic was still shut down. Officials with the Highway Department said that westbound traffic should reopen in the "overnight hours." Meanwhile, a permanent detour was set up from Burns Park to Highway 365. Drivers can then get off at Crystal Hill or Morgan/Maumelle.

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