Franklin, TN – Travel on I-65, and roadways throughout the Franklin area, remain congested this afternoon following a 3:40am crash that claimed the life of the driver. For reasons unknown, the tanker truck, owned by Edwards Oil Co. of Lawrenceburg, Inc., struck an overpass support column on I-65S at Peytonsville Road, and burst into flames. The driver, whose identity is being withheld pending forensic identification, is believed to have been traveling at Interstate speeds at the time of the crash.
Approximately 36 minutes prior to the crash, the truck had left a West Nashville terminal with 9,000 gallons of gasoline, destined for Columbia, TN. The Franklin Police Department’s Critical Incident response team is investigating. Because of the complexity of the scene, the results of the investigation will not be available immediately.
Firefighters were able to extinguish the gasoline-fueled blaze within 30 minutes of ignition. Responders from City, County, State, and Federal government, along with private companies worked together to bring this morning’s unfortunate situation quickly under control.
The impact, combined with the intense heat, caused structural damage to the overpass that has required its closure and forthcoming demolition.
All northbound lanes of I-65 at Peytonsville Road are currently open. The potential danger that the damaged bridge poses to motorists, however, is forcing southbound traffic to exit at Peytonsville Road, and then re-enter the Interstate, in order to avoid traveling under the damaged portion of the bridge.
Beginning at 6am on Saturday, TDOT will demolish the existing Peytonsville Road overpass. This will require us to detour north and southbound I-65 traffic onto Peytonsville Road. Motorists will be forced to exit, and then re-enter the Interstate via the onramps to avoid crossing under the damaged bridge. TDOT anticipates this detour being in effect through 2pm Monday. The newly constructed bridge, not yet in service, will also have to be demolished and replaced. The timeframe for that work has not yet been determined.
The City, in partnership with the County, is establishing an emergency response staging area at the County Agricultural Center to ensure prompt emergency services to citizens on the Southeast side of the City. Equipment and personnel from Franklin Police, Franklin Fire, and Williamson County EMS will be located there.
Schools are urging parents to consider putting the children on school buses, rather than driving them to and from school, to help alleviate traffic in and around school zones during the re-construction of the Peytonsville Road overpass. Franklin Police are working with County and State law enforcement to increase police presence on routes to area schools during peak hours. Employers with the ability to flex employee hours to relieve some of the expected I-65 and detour route commuter congestion are asked to consider doing so, if possible. Alternate route and other information regarding this ongoing situation can be found at www.franklintn.gov/goosecreekdetours and http://www.tdot.state.tn.us/. Other official sources of information include @FranklinTNPD, @CityofFranklin and @FranklinTraffic on Twitter.
Franklin officials extend their heartfelt condolences to the family and friends for the loss of their loved one during this tragic event.
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