EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – On July 19, 2018, a semi-truck drove up a highway embankment, causing a fiery crash in Downtown El Paso.
The event caused drivers near the area to be gridlocked for hours as firefighters rushed to extinguish the fire, remove the remains of the semi-truck and stabilize the bridge near the incident.
As KTSM reported, the driver said he was reaching for a water bottle when he felt what he thought was a flat tire. According to him, he lost control of the vehicle and drove up the embankment.
The driver said he then lost consciousness and woke up from the smoke filling the inside of the cab.
After the crash, a handful of closures were enacted by TxDOT to repair the surrounding area.
One year later, TxDOT says the structures have been completely restored.
“It took a lot of repairs,” TxDOT Spokeswoman Lauren Macias-Cervantes told KTSM. “There were a lot of things that had to happen. The bridge was worked on for temporary repairs and long-term repairs.”
Although TxDOT does not have an update on the driver, officials tell KTSM an insurance claim has been submitted to White Mountain Trucking, the trucking company out of Phoenix.
The claim was submitted for the total cost of damage from the crash including the cost for TxDOT and the utility cost.
The traffic gridlock that came from the crash made the organization determine that changes were needed.
“One thing that people may remember from that fiery crash is the impact that it had on traffic,” Macias-Cervantes said. “There was gridlock for hours, so incident management was something that we worked with law enforcement to try to get people on alternate routes and trying to get the word out to people.”
Going forward, TxDOT is focusing on its 55-mile corridor study from Anthony to Tornillo.
The study is to help plan for incident management, alternate routes, safety and the future of I-10 in case another major accident happens again.