Junction City A tractor-trailer hauling mail for the U.S. Postal Service caught fire overnight Wednesday on Interstate 70, closing the highway for about 11 hours, authorities said.
A nine-mile stretch of westbound I-70 in Geary County was shut down from about 3 a.m. until about 2 p.m. Traffic was rerouted through Manhattan.
The driver, who worked for a Texas-based contractor, was not hurt, said Brian Sperry, a regional spokesman for the Postal Service in Denver. He said no other people or vehicles were involved.
The 53-foot trailer was carrying 40,000 to 50,000 pounds of parcel post and advertising mail from bulk mail centers in Jacksonville, Fla., and Atlanta to the bulk mail center in Seattle.
A stop was planned in Denver, where the load was to have been transferred to another contractor, Sperry said.
He said postal officials were sent to the scene.
"As much mail as possible will be salvaged and sent onto its destination with a letter of explanation," Sperry said. "Most of the mail was burned beyond recognition."
The value of the load was not immediately known. Sperry said the cause of the fire was under investigation.