DPS urges drivers to plan ahead after another hours-long shutdown of I-17

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: Arizona Department of Transportation) (Source: Arizona Department of Transportation)
(3TV/CBS 5) -

Things are back to normal tonight on the I-17 after an absolute mess Tuesday night.

A burning propane tanker closed the highway in both directions, stranding some drivers for as long as nine hours.

"We could not take the chance of letting people through and having this thing explode or do something that would harm motorists," said Trooper Kameron Lee of the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

[RELATED: Truck hauling propane catches fire on I-17; causes massive backup]

A van full of kids piloted by Ashley Corradino was one of hundreds of vehicles stuck on the I-17.

"We just passed Black Canyon exit and we were heading back to Peoria and it just stopped. There was a line of cars," said Corradino.

She was able to reverse her way up the shoulder and off the highway.

[RELATED: I-17 open again after propane truck fire causes long closure]

Corradino and her family had only two options for detouring, both taking several additional hours.

"[The terrain] is very rugged and that leads us to problems of turning people around or sending them on different state routes," said Lee.

“There needs to be some other road that goes through somewhere," said Corradino.

[RELATED: ADOT addresses frequent I-17 closures]

They chose to travel back up to Prescott and down Wickenbug, before finally getting home after many hours spent in the car.

"They weren't happy, this one especially she screamed for about an hour,” she said gesturing towards her 13-month-old daughter. “She wanted to get out of her car seat. The kids were upset because they started school today, so they didn't get to bed until almost midnight last night."

Even more motorists could not leave the highway, many were stranded without food or water.

At one point DPS troopers started handing out bottled water.

They say this is one of the reasons why everyone should keep a 24-hour supply in their vehicles at all times especially while traveling the 1-17.

“If you're going to travel this particular stretch of highway you really need to be prepared for things like this, for backups like this,” said Lee. “Be prepared, have food in your vehicle, water especially, medications."

DPS has more tips for travel on its website.

Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

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Lauren ReimerLauren Reimer joined the 3TV/CBS 5 family in June 2016. She is originally from Racine, WI but is no stranger to our heat.

Click to learn more about Lauren.

Lauren Reimer

She previously worked for KVOA in Tucson, covering topics that matter to Arizonans including the monsoon, wildfires and border issues. During the child migrant crisis of 2014, Reimer was one of only a handful of journalists given access to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection detention facility in Nogales, where hundreds of unaccompanied children were being held after crossing into the U.S. from Central America. Before that, Reimer worked at WREX in Rockford, IL. Lauren is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee and still visits home often. When not chasing news stories, Reimer loves to explore, enjoying everything from trying new adventurous foods to visiting state and national parks or local places of historical significance.

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