MELVILLE, N.Y. - A section of the Long Island Expressway was closed to traffic for several hours after a fuel truck flipped and exploded on the highway, killing the driver.
The eastbound lanes of the eight-lane highway that connects the suburbs to New York City were closed Saturday night so workers could repave about 200 feet of road that had damaged.
Nassau County police spokesman Michael Toich says all lanes were reopened by 4:40 a.m. yesterday.
The highway was closed in both directions after the intense heat melted the supports for a huge road sign, which collapsed across all eight lanes of the roadway. The westbound lanes were reopened Saturday evening.
Police say 57-year-old driver Mujahid Shah of Brooklyn was killed in the accident near the Nassau County line.
The truck was carrying about 1,500 gallons of gasoline, and the crash created a fireball that could be seen for miles. The tanker was operated by Maine-based Kittery Transport, authorities said.
Eileen Peters, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation, could not estimate the cost for the repairs but said the state would seek to recoup the cost through insurance.
Emergency crews battled the raging blaze for three hours after the 8 a.m. accident between Melville and Plainview near the Nassau County line. The accident happened as the tanker sought to pass a small car that apparently was having mechanical problems and slowing down, police said.
They said the car was trying to get to the shoulder of the highway when the tanker veered around it, struck it and lost control.