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I-65 Reopens Following Williamson County Tanker Crash

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Photo: Video by NewsChannel5.com

I-65 Reopens Following Williamson County Tanker Crash

CREATED Aug 16, 2014 - UPDATED: Aug 16, 2014

FRANKLIN, Tenn. – The Tennessee Department Of Transportation announced around 2 p.m. Sunday all lanes of I-65 northbound and southbound are now open at SR 248 which is Peytonsville Road.

Cleanup crews demolished the old Peytonsville overpass in Williamson County after a tanker truck struck a concrete support structure and exploded.

"I think it’s important for everyone to know if you get off the ramp you can only turn right. The bridge will be closed. The only bridge left, which is the new bridge, was so severely damaged we can’t have traffic on it," said TDOT Commissioner John Schroer in a press conference Sunday morning.

Schroer reassured everyone that even though the new bridge was damaged they will not tear it down immediately.  He said there was no concern about it falling.  

"The steel was warped. It got heated to some pretty high degrees and it's just not safe anymore for any other truck traffic," Schroer commented.

Both northbound and southbound lanes of I-65 were closed at 6 a.m. Saturday, so workers with the Tennessee Department of Transportation could begin tearing down the bridge.

PHOTOS: Deadly Tanker Truck Explosion, Fire On I-65 In Franklin

Initially, the roadway was predicted to reopen no later than 2 p.m. Monday. But after extensive work throughout the weekend TDOT was able to move up that opening up a full 24 hours early.

The crash happened around 3:40 a.m. Friday when the tanker hauling gasoline hit the overpass and ignited into flames, killing the driver and causing several fires under and on the bridge.

The driver of the truck was 67 year-old Bobby Ray Bobo from Columbia.  He had a great driving record for Edward Oil Co. Of Lawrenceburg. He had worked for the company for 40 years and was getting ready to retire.

Funeral services are Thursday at Heritage Funeral Home in Columbia.

What caused him to crash is still not known.

"While this is going to inconvenience some people I think everybody should realize that Mr. Bobo will never be home," Schroer explained, "having said that we're trying to make the best out of that."

So what's next for the bridge construction?

Now that the old overpass is torn down construction will start immediately on rebuilding a new one. Scheduled completion is estimated from 90 to 120 days. TDOT says they are going to work as many hours as they can.

The bridge is scheduled to open to commuters by mid-December.

They will still have to tear down the newer overpass burned in the accident. The time line for it's demolition and construction is not fully known.

 TDOT did say once the first bridge is finished all the supplies they have to reorder to build the second bridge should be in and construction should start then.

 Meanwhile, motorist will have to continue to  find alternate routes when traveling from one side of Franklin to the other.

Both Franklin Police and TDOT have provided alternate detour routes to motorists in an effort to ease congestion.