BALCH SPRINGS (CBSDFW.COM) – Traffic in southeast Dallas County moved slower than usual on Tuesday after a big rig jackknifed and burned along Interstate-20 in Balch Springs. The incident happened at around 3:00 a.m. just a little bit past the C.F. Hawn Freeway, in the eastbound lanes of the highway.
Investigators said that the truck driver lost control of his vehicle, then slammed into a guardrail and an overhead traffic sign. After the crash, the cab of the big rig burst into flames.
The truck driver was not seriously injured in the crash. He was taken to Baylor Medical Center at Dallas and is expected to be okay. His name has not been released.
The driver told authorities that the crash happened after he drove over a water puddle on the freeway. But investigators could not find any puddles, and think that he might have simply been speeding. It does not look like the driver will face any charges at this time.
Attention was then placed on the traffic sign. The 18-wheeler struck the sign’s support columns and the whole structure was “compromised,” according to officials with the Texas Department of Transportation. The sign was leaning Tuesday morning and there was concern that it could fall down.
After an inspection, a TxDOT contractor confirmed that the sign would need to be taken down completely.
Crews were forced to shut down all eastbound lanes of the interstate until the sign could be moved. Workers detatched the large sign from the sides and, using a crane, lifted it to the side of the freeway. Work will continue there, letting the roadway open back up for traffic. The sign is being broken down into smaller pieces for removal.
Some lanes of the highway will remain closed while crews are at the scene. The entire interstate is expected to open up again by noon on Tuesday. Earlier estimates had this incident lasting into Tuesday afternoon’s rush hour, but work has moved faster than first anticipated.
Temporary electronic message boards will be used until the permanent sign can be replaced.
Drivers should still expect delays in this part of DFW. Check the traffic map for alternate routes and updates.