Two tanker trucks collided last week in Phoenix, causing an immense fireball, gargantuan traffic jams, and tragically, one fatality.

Yet just hours later, the Arizona Dept. of Transportation officials made emergency repairs to the damaged section of freeway and reopened it to commuters -- all in less than 24 hours.

The accident occurred the morning of Nov. 9th south of Phoenix along Interstate 10 near the Chandler Blvd. interchange, when a tanker truck carrying milk slammed into another tanker that was carrying fuel in stop-and-go traffic. Witnesses reported seeing the milk truck driver on fire, exiting his cab which was also ablaze, but he died not far from the trucks. The fuel tanker then caught on fire, emitting acrid black smoke visible for miles. While most of the smoke was carried aloft and away from the main population areas of Phoenix, area schools and businesses were evacuated as a precaution.

The fire burned nearly two hours as fire crews worked to get water and foam to the area. Traffic in Phoenix was significantly snarled. The accident occurred just a few miles from the hotel where the 2011 Construction User's Roundtable was wrapping up, causing many attendees to find alternate routes to the airport.

Once the fire was extinguished and the tankers were removed, ADOT engineers assessed the damage and determined the pavement was severely damaged in the fire and needed to be replaced. In a statement, ADOT officials say that "In an effort to minimize the inconvenience to drivers, crews will work overnight to remove the damaged pavement, which extends approximately 150 ft-long, 80-ft wide,  and will replace it with a new top layer of asphalt to return westbound I-10 to a safe, drivable condition."

ADOT was able to line up the contractors and resources needed to accomplish the repair work immediately after the accident, officials say, electing to repave the damaged area right away for safety and to avoid a future closure of the freeway. The repairs were successfully completed by 4:30 a.m. the following morning.

story updated 10/15

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