Northbound Interstate 35 into downtown Kansas City will remain closed through the evening rush hour, more than 15 hours after a fiery semitractor-trailer crash closed the highway, the Kansas Highway Patrol said.
The Kansas City, Kan., Fire Department was cleaning up hazardous materials remaining from the crash and estimated that it wouldn't be until 7 p.m. at the earliest before the highway could be reopened.
Kansas Department of Transportation crews have not been able to assess the roadway and barriers for damage. The highway will not reopen until engineers determine that the highway is safe.
The semi burst into flames in a crash shortly before midnight Wednesday near Mission Road.
The driver told the highway patrol that he saw what appeared to be a brown bag in the lane. He lost control of the semi when he struck the object. The semi struck the barrier wall several times before catching fire.
He was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, according to the highway patrol.
The crash forced the highway patrol to close northbound I-35 between Southwest Boulevard and Seventh Street Trafficway, creating long delays for commuters headed into downtown Kansas City from Johnson and Wyandotte counties.
Traffic was being forced to exit at Southwest Boulevard.
Drivers were urged to check for traffic updates before heading home Thursday evening. Drivers were encouraged to avoid northbound I-35 in that area. There have been reports throughout the day of additional crashes in the area due to traffic back ups.