A stretch of Interstate 80 eastbound between Exit #53 (PA 338 – Knox) and Exit #60 (PA 66 – Shippenville) was shut down around 4:00 p.m. Sunday due to an accident involving a tractor-trailer fire near a bridge in the area of mile marker 55.2.
Clarion-based State Police say the accident happened when a 2001 Freightliner Tractor Trailer operated by 53-year-old Edward Keesler of Michigan, Pa. traveled off the north side of the eastbound lane and struck approximately 168 feet of guard rail, causing the truck to catch on fire.
Police say the tractor became fully engulfed in flames.
Firefighters quickly extinguished the fire, but the roadway remained closed for several hours while crews removed wreckage and debris.
Keesler escaped injury in the crash.
The bridge had to be inspected by a PennDOT bridge inspection team, according to PennDOT District 10-0 Public Information and Safety Press Officer Deborah Casadei.
Traffic was detoured off I-80 East at Exit #29 (PA 8 – Barkeyville) in Venango County to Route 8 North to Route 322 East to Route 66 South to Shippenville and back on to I-80 East.
Detoured traffic caused delays on several roadways throughout the area including Route 338, Route 208, and Route 322.
Interstate 80 Eastbound re-opened around 1 a.m.
Responders on the scene included Knox Fire, Knox Ambulance, Clarion Fire & Hose Company No. 1, PennDOT, and Bauer Truck Repair.
In addition, I-80 West was closed for 1.5 hours early this morning for a multi-vehicle crash. The road closed at 1:00 a.m. between Exit #70 (Route 322 Strattanville) and Exit #64 (PA 66 South New Bethlehem/Clarion) and reopened at around 2:15 a.m.
No further details have been released on the second accident.
More from exploreVenango.com: