I-95 Tanker Fire: Demolition of Damaged Bridge Scheduled

Governor Ned Lamont announced on Thursday that a section of Interstate 95 in Connecticut will remain closed until at least Monday following a tanker fire that caused damage to a bridge over the highway.

During a briefing on Thursday evening, Governor Lamont stated that the demolition of the damaged bridge is scheduled to commence at 3:00 a.m. on Friday.

“The intense heat from the burning fuel has compromised sections of the bridge, necessitating its removal. Therefore, the demolition process will begin promptly tomorrow morning,” Governor Lamont explained during the briefing.

If the demolition proceeds as planned, there is a possibility that the affected section of I-95 could be reopened by Monday.

Due to the detours and anticipated traffic congestion in the area, Norwalk Public Schools will be closed on Friday, May 3rd. This decision aims to alleviate traffic concerns. However, the district has decided to allow scheduled athletic games, drama performances, and proms to proceed as planned. All practices for these activities have been canceled for the day, according to the district’s announcement.

Early Thursday morning, a multi-vehicle crash occurred on I-95, involving a fuel truck and a passenger vehicle. The incident led to the closure of lanes in both directions and caused significant traffic disruptions.

The collision occurred on the southbound lanes of I-95 near Exit 15 in Norwalk, specifically at the Fairfield Avenue overpass, around 5:30 a.m.

The fuel truck, carrying 8,500 gallons of gasoline, collided with a tractor-trailer and a passenger car, resulting in a fiery inferno that took nearly three hours to bring under control.

Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner Garrett Eucalitto commented on the severity of the damage, noting that although the bridge is relatively new, the intense heat from the ignited gasoline caused significant structural damage. The steel of the bridge began to overheat and warp as a result.

As of the latest update, no injuries have been reported as a result of the crash.

Residents of Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey received text alerts, and trucking companies utilizing the route were informed to seek alternative routes and transportation methods, according to Governor Ned Lamont. Additionally, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg was notified of the situation.

Acknowledging the significant inconvenience caused by the incident, Governor Lamont urged individuals to avoid the affected area to the best of their ability during an earlier briefing in Hartford. He described the resulting traffic jams as “horrendous.”

The crash caused extensive traffic congestion, with backups stretching for dozens of miles during the morning rush hour. The gridlock also affected other highways and secondary roads in the vicinity. The Merritt Parkway, a major alternate route in the area, was inaccessible to trucks due to low underpasses. Slow-moving detours were implemented to divert traffic away from the highway and around the accident site.

The accident bore similarities to a tragic incident last year in Philadelphia on I-95, where a gasoline-laden tractor-trailer lost control, igniting a fire that caused extensive damage to a portion of the highway.

Environmental crews were mobilized to address the spillage of gasoline and firefighting foam. The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection assured that measures were in place to contain the runoff, which was confined to a retention pond and did not reach the Norwalk River.

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