MANATEE -- Two men were able to escape their vehicle just moments before it became engulfed in flames on Interstate 75, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
The 20-year-old driver was heading north on I-75 approaching the University Parkway exit in a 2005 Chevrolet 2500 Silverado pickup at about 9:30 a.m. when he observed smoke in the rear view mirror and realized the truck was on fire, a news release said.
Investigators say the driver was able to stop the truck on the inside paved emergency lane on the University Parkway overpass. The driver and the 21-year-old passenger were able to exit the truck and within moments it was engulfed in flames.
Firefighters were able to put out the fire.
The left northbound lane was closed temporarily as a result of debris and fire equipment, the report said.
No injuries were reported.
A new "diverging diamond" interchange is planned for the University Parkway and I-75 intersection but does not have funding for construction in the Florida Department of Transportation's work plan and is still years away.
The interchange is at the site of the new Mall at University Town Center, which is scheduled to open in October and expected to bring thousands more cars to the area.