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Updated Jul 11, 2013 - 4:55 pm

I-10 westbound partially reopened after watermelon spill

The westbound lanes of Interstate 10 were blocked by a watermelon spill on Thursday, July 11, 2013. (Photo: Arizona Department of Transportation)

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.

About the Author

Martha is the traffic controller in the KTAR newsroom. Her full time role is that of Assignment and Breaking News Editor of KTAR News. She oversees daily Breaking News planning and over-the air execution, and puts together the elements that make it happen. She gathers and distributes daily news assignments to reporters and editors. She also reports on a daily basis, anchors news afternoons 1-2p and fills in as anchor occasionally during other time slots. She began working at KTAR in the winter of 2012 as Desk Editor and was promoted to oversee Assignments and Breaking News in 2014. During that time, she received two awards as a journalist. The first was the 2013 APTRA Awards, where she took home 2nd place for Best Serious Future in the "Recycled Orchestra." The second was a 2014 Edward R. Murrow Award for her collaboration in KTAR's Voice for a Better Arizona Series: Immigration - seeking solutions. In her piece, Martha profiled two Arizona sisters looking for the DREAM. Martha was born in Mazatlan, Mexico. She moved to Arizona in 1996 with her parents and younger sister and has lived here since. She attended Barry Goldwater High School in Phoenix and graduated from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University in Tempe. Prior to working at KTAR news she worked in news and production at Univision Arizona in Phoenix. She also supervised the marketing, catering and public relations department at Hotel Araiza, 5-star hotel in Mexicali, Mexico. She has also been a personal trainer and aerobics instructor. When she isn't in the newsroom or behind the microphone Martha is an avid gym-goer and marathoner. She trains for two races a year and enjoys taking group exercise classes, such as kickboxing, indoor cycling and weight lifting. Martha is married and lives in Surprise, AZ with 2 dogs, Tasha and Elsa, and a cat, Sammy.


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