A scary situation unfolded on southbound Hwy. 169 at 63rd Avenue where a car burst into flames around 7:30 a.m. and sent huge clouds of smoke billowing into the air. The right lane is still blocked at this hour as the Maple Grove Fire Department mops up the scene.
Traffic came to a halt as far back as Hwy. 610, nearly 4 miles north of the incident. A brief highway closing caused the big backup that persisted even after the left lane was open. Word from MnDOT was that the driver was able to escape unhurt.
There was not near as much drama on the rest of the system, but there were a few tense moments on Lexington Avenue near the Como Park Golf Course where authorities shut down the road following a crash involving several vehicles.
A smattering of wrecks caused delays for drivers elsewhere. One on I-694 at Rice Street had traffic crawling from Hwy. 61 over to the 35E/694 split during the 7 a.m. hour.
The action on the roads started just after 6 a.m. on eastbound 94. A vehicle pulling a trailer that landed in the center median just prior to Hwy. 241 in St. Michael. The left lane was partially blocked for 20 minutes and slow downs kicked in at County 37 in Albertville.
In Brooklyn Center, a taxi heading north on 94 went off the ramp at the junction with Hwy. 252 and landed in the ditch. The vehicle was pulled from the ditch. Two passengers walked away to a bus stop on 66th Avenue. An ambulance was called they were taken to HCMC, according to MnDOT.
On a cheerier note, the Larpenteur Avenue Bridge over 35E opened to traffic.
That is it for Thursday. I'll be back Friday with more live blogging about your commute to work or school.