One more lane to open on I-73 south bridge days after tractor-trailer loaded with gasoline erupted into massive fire

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GREENSBORO, N.C. — Another lane of traffic is set to open on the Interstate 73 south bridge over I-85 this week, but officials are still evaluating the extent of damage left behind by a massive fire.

Early Thursday morning, a tractor-trailer loaded with 8,500 gallons of gasoline dumped flaming gas across the bridge, threatening the bridge's structural integrity.

The N.C. Department of Transportation has concluded that the bridge is strong enough to carry two lanes of traffic but are not yet confident it can hold the weight of three lanes.

Crews were on scene working to patch the bridge Monday to allow for two lanes of traffic.

NCDOT expects that second lane to open within the next few days.

Samples of bridge beams are undergoing testing to find out the extent of damage. NCDOT expects to know the results of those tests by Wednesday.

Any repairs will be expedited, but total repair could take several weeks if not months, according to the Department of Transportation.

The driver of the tractor-trailer, Carl Wilson Throckmorton II, 40, of Scottsburg, Virginia, was charged with exceeding a safe speed, according to Highway Patrol.

Troopers said the truck overturned after ice caused the truck to hit a snowbank and a safety barrier. The driver escaped before the truck ignited.

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