American infrastructure cracks again as tanker fire shuts down Interstate-95 in Connecticut for days

Date:



The major traffic artery linking New England with New York will be closed in Connecticut for days after a tanker fire damaged a bridge over Interstate 95, Gov. Ned Lamont said Thursday.

The tanker truck filled with gasoline burst into flames in a three-vehicle crash Thursday on I-95 in southwest Connecticut, closing the East Coast’s main north-south highway and causing major traffic jams.

Lamont said there were no serious injuries in the 5:30 a.m. accident in Norwalk. But the crash caused damage to the bridge above it, which the governor said will need to be demolished and replaced.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A tanker truck filled with gasoline burst into flames in a three-vehicle crash on Interstate 95 in southwest Connecticut, closing the East Coast’s main north-south highway Thursday and causing major traffic jams.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said there were no serious injuries in the 5:30 a.m. accident in Norwalk. But the accident occurred under a bridge, which the governor said likely will need to be replaced, making it unclear when the highway might reopen.

Text alerts were sent to residents of Connecticut, New York and New Jersey and trucking companies who use the main artery from New York into New England were notified to find alternative routes and means of travel, he said. U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg also was notified.

“I know what an incredible inconvenience this is for people and all I can ask you to do is stay away from that area as best you can,” Lamont said during a briefing in Hartford. “The traffic jams are horrendous.”

Traffic was backed up for dozens of miles (kilometers) during the morning rush hour and the crash left other highways and secondary roads in gridlock. The major alternate route in the area, the Merritt Parkway, cannot be used by trucks because the underpasses on that highway are too low.

The accident was reminiscent of last year’s deadly accident in Philadelphia along I-95 when a tractor-trailer carrying gasoline lost control and caught fire, destroying a section of the highway.

Thursday’s accident occurred under the Fairfield Avenue bridge. The overpass has been damaged but did not appear in danger of collapsing, said Scott Hill, chief engineer for the Connecticut Department of Transportation.

But after engineers were sent to assess the damage, the governor’s office said Thursday afternoon that the bridge likely will need to be replaced. In the meantime, slow moving detours were set up, taking traffic off the highway and around the accident scene.

Lamont planned to provide an update on the status of the interstate at 5 p.m.

Utility crews were also working to replace downed wires and crews also needed to offload about 3,000 gallons (about 11,400 liters) of gasoline that remained on the tanker, which was carrying a load of about 8,500 gallons (about 32,000 liters) when it crashed, officials said.

“Gasoline can really heat up and heat the bridge up and cause the steel to deform,” Hill said. “Once we figure out everything that’s associated with the safety of the traveling public and what we can and can’t do, we’ll get more updates to you.”

Environmental crews were also working to clean up gasoline and firefighting foam. The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said the runoff was contained to a retention pond and did not make it into the Norwalk River.

The crash came just over a year after a similar wreck on Interstate 95 in Connecticut that forced the closure of the highway.

In April 2023, another fuel truck caught fire after colliding with a stopped car on the Gold Star Memorial Bridge between New London and Groton. The fuel truck driver was killed. The crash shut down the southbound side of the bridge for hours, while the northbound side was closed briefly. The driver of the car was recently charged with negligent homicide.

——

Associated Press writer Dave Collins contributed to this report.





Source link

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Share post:

Subscribe

spot_imgspot_img

Popular

More like this
Related