LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - All lanes of Loop 287 and the U.S. Highway 59 direct connector bridge have been re-opened for travel following a wreck involving an 18-wheeler hauling orange juice that plunged off the northbound flyover.
Rhonda Oaks, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Transportation, issued an update on the traffic situation at 1:15 p.m. Thursday.
Around 1:33 a.m. Thursday, Lufkin Police were called to the northbound lane of the flyover in front of the Lufkin Mall and South Loop Crossing shopping center.
It appears the cab of the truck fell more than 40 feet from the northbound U.S. 59 flyover, with the cab of the truck separating and landing in the southbound lanes of Loop 287, while the tanker came to rest and spilled onto the northbound side.
Lufkin police say it’s unclear what cased the driver to veer off of the flyover.
Officers pulled the unidentified man from the cab of the mangled vehicle, a news release stated. He was flown to UT Health Tyler in stable condition and is being treated for a fractured pelvis and clavicle, a news release stated.
The Lufkin Fire Department responded to extinguish a small amount of smoke and flames coming from the tanker and a HAZMAT crew is offloading the vehicle’s fuel tank.
A crew from the Texas Department of Transportation is also at the scene to inspect the bridge.
TxDOT officials say the eastbound lanes of Loop 287 have been reopened, but the westbound lanes remain closed while HAZMAT crews continue to clean up diesel fuel and orange juice.
The Loop had been closed in all directions for several hours from North Brentwood Drive to the U.S. Highway 59.
TxDOT bridge inspectors have deemed the northbound flyover safe after completing an inspection of the bridge earlier Thursday morning. Both north and southbound flyovers are open.
Westbound traffic on the loop is being rerouted off onto service roads. Motorists can use Whitehouse Drive to Tulane Drive or College Drive as alternate routes until all lanes have been reopened.
KLTV will be streaming the latest on this developing story on East Texas Now.