How long will parts of I-95 be shut for after fire?

The I-95 was closed after a gasoline tanker carrying 8,500 gallons of fuel collided with two other vehicles at 5.30am on Thursday

Martha McHardy
Friday 03 May 2024 18:58 BST
I-95 in Connecticut remains closed

Interstate 95 in Connecticut is closed in both directions after a gas tanker exploded on Thursday following a multi-vehicle crash.

The fire caused parts of the I-95 to crumble, shutting down traffic in both directions on the busy highway. Harry Rilling, the mayor of Norwalk, said no serious injuries or fatalities were reported from the crash.

Following the incident, which involved a gasoline tanker carrying 8,500 gallons of fuel and two other vehicles, officials have warned that the I-95 could be closed for days as utility crews work to dismantle the bridge, with travellers urged to avoid the area.

“The bridge was damaged. The heat from the burning fuel compromised some of the bridge, so that bridge is going to have to come down,” Connecticut governor Ned Lamont said on Thursday after filing an emergency declaration.

“Thank God no fatalities, but it has closed down I-95,” he added.

The scene of a tanker fire on I-95 in Norwalk, Connecticut
The scene of a tanker fire on I-95 in Norwalk, Connecticut (Norwalk Police Department)

The demolition, which began on Friday morning, is expected to take 24 hours, according to authorities. Structural engineers also determined that the roadway would need to be repaved before it reopens.

While Mr Lamont did not confirm when the I-95 will reopen, it is expected that it will remain closed until at least Monday morning.

The governor has also declared a state of emergency, which will help “expedite some of the resources needed for us to respond to this situation,” Mr Lamont said.

Meanwhile, Connecticut DOT Highway Operations Bureau Chief Paul Rizzo encouraged motorists to take interstates 87 and 84 as alternative routes and asked commuters to either work from home or use public transportation.

The crash saw massive traffic jams on Thursday, with cars backed up for dozens of miles during rush hour, while other surrounding highways and secondary roads were left gridlocked.

The state Department of Transportation said the travel time was over an hour for the 16 miles (26km) from the New York border to Route 7 in Norwalk on I-95 North.

“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,” Mr Lamont said during an earlier briefing in Hartford. “The traffic jams are horrendous.”

Interstate 95 is used by more than 100,000 drivers a day in Connecticut, according to the state’s DOT’s traffic data. The highway connects New York City to Connecticut and Rhode Island.

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