AUSTIN (KXAN) - The southbound lanes of Interstate 35 near Riverside Drive were shutdown for several hours Monday afternoon because of a fire involving a tractor-trailer.
Emergency pavement repairs were completed following the incident and the interstate reopened at 8:30 p.m. The fire broke out about 12:30 p.m. on the mainlanes between Riverside Drive and Oltorf Street.
Texas Department of Transportation officials had said the clean-up and repair efforts could have lasted until midnight. However, repairs to the road were able to be made while clean-up efforts took place, helping to speed up the process.
TxDOT workers along with police and fire department personnel spent all of Monday afternoon clearing the burned truck and debris from the roadway, while southbound traffic was diverted to the frontage road for safety reasons.
The vehicle loaded with pork bellies was fully engulfed in flames and the smoke could be seen from miles away.
The driver was able to get out without being injured, but a dog he was riding with died in the flames, officials said.
Cameras operated by the Texas Department of Transportation showed that vehicles were being allowed to pass the wreckage for a brief period. But the lanes were fully shut down a short time later.
Officials said a mechanical malfunction likely caused the fire.
Traffic was moved to the access road for safety. Northbound traffic heading into downtown was also backed up for several hours.
Residents from the area told KXAN by email that they heard what sounded like two bombs exploding.
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