Update: I-81 open in Dauphin County, ramp detour established

Written by The Associated Press | May 14, 2013 6:43 AM

(Harrisburg) -- There's good news for morning commuters in the Harrisburg area: Interstate 81 has been reopened following days of closures due to a fiery truck crash.

Both the southbound and northbound lanes of I-81 in Dauphin County reopened to traffic shortly before 8 p.m. and are ready for morning commuters.

Portions of the highway had to be closed after a fiery fuel tanker crash on Thursday.

That accident prompted what the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation says was a complex repair effort that took four days.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has also reinstated tolls for turnpike trips in the area, a route that had been used as a detour during the repairs.

PennDOT outlines a detour in the following statement: 

A signed detour route has been established for the ramp from northbound Interstate 81 to westbound Route 22/322 in the I-81 Exit 67 just north of Harrisburg that was closed last Thursday morning when a tanker truck overturned and caught fire. The intensity of fire destroyed the concrete deck of the ramp.

The detour directs motorists north on I-81 to Exit 72B (Mountain Road) in Lower Paxton Township, north on Mountain Road for a short distance, and then south on I-81 back to the Exit 67 interchange and the off-ramp to westbound Route 22/322.

Construction crews are expected to soon start demolition of the concrete deck on the ramp.

Shielding to protect motorists has been installed underneath the ramp so that debris cannot fall on the interstate roadway below.

Replacing the deck may take three months to complete.

However, if it is determined that the steel beams cannot be used due to damage from the heat of the fire, the bridge superstructure may need to be replaced.

Replacement of the superstructure would take about six months.

PennDOT will make an announcement when a determination has been made whether the deck replacement is sufficient or that the superstructure replacement is necessary.

Published in Harrisburg, News

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