Updated Jul 11, 2013 - 4:55 pm
I-10 westbound partially reopened after watermelon spill
PHOENIX -- A few lanes were reopened Thursday afternoon after a large fruit spill closed westbound Interstate 10 inside the Deck Park Tunnel.
"A watermelon truck actually crashed into the side wall when it was braking to avoid rear-ending other vehicles," said Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman Carrick Cook, adding that the fully-loaded truck weighing 80,000 pounds jackknifed and spilled many tons of rotten watermelon on the roadway.
No injuries have been reported, but debris was spread across the westbound side of the tunnel.
The freeway was closed at the mini-stack and split near Sky Harbor Airport.
The on-ramps to I-10 at Seventh Street and 16th Street were reportedly closed as a result of the spill.
The inside wall of the tunnel was damaged.
The Arizona Department of Transportation said long delays were expected and drivers should consider using Interstate 17 as a detour.
Several lanes were reopened about 4:45 p.m. The two right lanes remained closed while ADOT inspected the tunnel wall.
Cook said the cleaning process would take an extensive time because of the mess on the road.
The watermelon was destined for a farm to be feed for animals.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Martha Maurer, News Editor