Jackknifed tractor-trailer snarls traffic on Interstate 4

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CENTRAL FLORIDA - A tractor-trailer crashed into a retaining wall on Interstate 4 early Friday morning, causing a lot of damage and a diesel spill.

At the height of the morning rush, the east and westbound lanes of I-4 were shut down from Par Street to Orange Blossom Trail and didn’t reopen until shortly after 10 a.m.

Officials said the tractor-trailer jackknifed out of control just before the Michigan Street exit ramp, and crashed into the center barrier.

A crew spent most of the morning at the scene near Michigan Street, cleaning up the diesel fuel that leaked into storm drains in the area.

"There was part of the jersey barrier that was destroyed. The concrete went into the opposite lane and several cars drove over the top of that, causing a chain reaction. A couple of accidents and flat tires," said Lt. Bob Coschigiano of Orlando Fire Rescue.

A second tractor-trailer also punctured its fuel tank and spilled more diesel on the highway for miles, authorities said.

"As a result, it ripped part of the saddle tank releasing about 50 gallons of diesel fuel into the roadway and into the lake behind us," Coschigiano said.

Authorities said the likely cause the crash was a slick road on a rainy morning.

Orlando police have not said whether the truck driver will be cited for driving too fast in rainy conditions.

The Florida Department of Transportation said repairs to the center barrier could take a couple of weeks.

Engineers will evaluate the damage and come up with a plan to fix it during overnight hours to keep traffic flowing.