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Crash damage may keep 91-710 freeway connector closed for days

June 14, 2009 | 11:33 am


An entrance to the 710 Freeway from the 91 Freeway in Long Beach may remain closed for a few days after Saturday’s fiery solo crash of a tanker truck carrying 8,000 gallons of gasoline, authorities said today.

The truck was leaving the eastbound 91 to merge onto the northbound 710 [see map] at about 5:45 p.m. when it hit a guardrail, rolled onto its side and ignited in flames, the California Highway Patrol said in a statement.

71091crashThe 51-year-old male driver of the vehicle was pronounced dead at the scene. His name has not been released.

 “The intensity of the fire was such that all that remained of the truck were its axles and small portions of the cab,” Jackawa Jackson of the Long Beach Fire Department said in a statement.

Large chunks of concrete popped free from the roadway because of the heat, and structural engineers were called in to assess the damage, Jackson said.

As a result, the ramp to the northbound 710 from the eastbound 91 will be closed until further notice, along with one lane of the westbound 91 near the 710, CHP Officer Jennifer Connelly said. Authorities are still investigating the cause of the accident.

California Highway Patrol Officer David Porter advised drivers to look for alternate routes, particularly during rush hour.

“Hopefully folks can plan ahead and maybe utilize the 605 Freeway or the 110 if they have to go north out of the Long Beach area,” Porter said.

--Corina Knoll

Photo: Thomas McConville