PHOENIX — A closure of Interstate 17 due to a propane truck fire in a rural area lasted at least nine hours before the main route between Phoenix and northern Arizona high country was fully reopened early Wednesday morning.

The incident began late Tuesday afternoon when the tanker caught fire after a tire blowout near Black Canyon City, which is about 45 miles (72 kilometers) north of Phoenix.

The closure caused a long backup on I-17. Traffic was routed onto local roads but the Department of Transportation advised drivers to take alternate routes through Payson and Wickenburg during the extended closure.

The department announced around 1 a.m. that southbound lanes had reopened and then northbound lanes an hour later.

State officials are considering ways to improve I-17 to avoid extended closures.

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