PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) – An 86-mile stretch of the Pennsylvania Turnpike reopened Thursday afternoon.

The section of road from Breezewood to New Stanton was closed so crews could remove a tractor-trailer that went over a hillside last week.

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Officials say local roads just couldn’t handle the volume of traffic, and the lengthy detour was needed.

“We have made the decision – in partnership with PennDOT, in partnership with state police – that we are going to use this interstate-to-interstate detour,” said Carl DeFebo, of the Turnpike Commission. “Yes, it adds a number of miles and a lot of time to the trip between Bedford and New Stanton; however, it’s favorable in that if there would be bad weather, if there would be high winds that we are keeping these trucks on the interstate system.”

Today, crews hooked a large tow truck to the big rig and pulled it off the embankment.

The truck was hauling bulk chocolate and some of the load spilled onto the hillside.

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The big rig was dangling off an embankment along the Turnpike in Bedford County. The cab twisted sideways and the trailer was hanging by a thread.

Shortly after the accident, several bystanders jumped into action to save the trucker stuck in his cab.

“We got the driver out and a bunch of people formed a chain to pull him up onto the road. The cab is leveled. I don’t know how he survived. He is not well, but he survived,” Arlyn Satanek posted on his Facebook page:

The same eastbound stretch of the Turnpike had to be closed Sunday so crews could remove more than 500 snowbound vehicles from the westbound lanes.

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