NORMAN, Okla. – A semi that was stuck under a bridge over a busy metro interstate and caught fire backed up traffic for hours. It happened just before 3 a.m. Wednesday on I-35 under the Flood Avenue bridge.
"Driver, it looks like he fell asleep and just departed the roadway,” Lt. Kera Philippi with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol told News 4. "Never did anything to try to brake, to try to avoid but struck a bridge pillar."
Phillippi said the semi burst into flames and melted both the cab and the engine.
"Fortunately, he walked away with no injuries. He was wearing a seatbelt,” she said.
The mess shut down two NB lanes of I-35 between the Flood Ave. bridge and Tecumseh and the bridge for more than five hours during the morning commute.
"There's no structural damage. However, this is a fairly new bridge. We built this as part of a project on I-35 in Norman and Robinson in 2009," said Terri Angier, a spokesperson for the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.
However, there are some cosmetic damages to the bridge.
"They have to do another project, of course, to get the smoke off and, then, also, a repair project because there is concrete that has fallen off,” Angier said.
Thankfully, the overall aftermath was much better than how things could have ended.
"Sometimes, we'll work crashes where they are not able to get out of a vehicle when it's on fire. But, to not even get any injuries, you know, related to the impact, yeah, it's amazing, I mean very lucky driver for sure,” Philippi said.