News

Aftermath of tanker fire could snarl traffic for days

Written by Craig Layne and Marie Cusick | May 9, 2013 4:43 PM
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(Harrisburg) -- The aftermath of a fire on a bridge over Interstate 81 in Dauphin County could snarl midstate traffic through the weekend and beyond.

PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch says the crash this morning severely damaged a section of the ramp between I-81 north and Routes 22/322 westbound.

He says the heat of the burning diesel fuel cracked the concrete and compromised steel beams on the bridge where the crash happened.

"There really could not have been a worse spot for this to have occurred," Schoch says. "It occurred directly underneath an overhead span, so we've got problems with the bridge where the accident occurred, and the span directly on top of it, which is the inbound direction from Route 322 in the morning."

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Schoch says it could be Monday or Tuesday until the project is completed.

So, I-81 will be closed in both directions, with travelers being advised to detour using either I-83 and Route 581 or the Turnpike.

Turnpike tolls have been suspended between the Harrisburg East and Carlisle interchanges.

Schoch estimates the damage could total as much as $10 million.

Governor Corbett says he's asking the federal government for a disaster declaration, in order to speed up funding for repairs.

State workers were sent home early to alleviate traffic around Harrisburg.

They've been told to report to work as scheduled tomorrow.

Governor Corbett talked with reporters this afternoon about the incident.

witf’s Marie Cusick was at the press conference and shares more information about the accident in a conversation with witf’s Craig Layne... 

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