The following is an update from PennDOT on the impacts of Thursday’s tanker crash in Susquehanna Twp., Dauphin County:
Harrisburg – A fiery tanker crash shortly after 6 a.m. Thursday on the ramp from northbound Interstate 81 to westbound Route 22/322 closed the bridges that carry Route 22 over I-81 and also both directions of I-81 that pass underneath those bridges. As of 6 p.m., this is where we stand:
· Westbound Route 22 through the I-81 Exit 67 interchange was reopened around 10:20 a.m. Access to northbound I-81 from westbound Route 22 was also restored.
· The ramp from westbound Route 22 to southbound I-81 was reopened to traffic at about 1:40 p.m.
In summary, traffic leaving the Harrisburg area by way of westbound Route 22 has access to northbound and southbound I-81 and westbound Route 22/322 toward Dauphin and State College.
· The ramp from northbound Interstate 83 to southbound I-81 was reopened at around 4:45 p.m. to allow motorists headed to westbound Route 22/322 to continue to the I-81 Exit 67 interchange and take the ramp to westbound Route 22/322 toward Dauphin and State College.
In the I-81 Exit 67 interchange, the following remain closed:
· Northbound and southbound I-81.
o For motorists traveling on southbound I-81 from outside the Harrisburg area, southbound I-81 is closed at Exit 70 in Dauphin County and motorists are then detoured by way of southbound Interstate 83 on the Capital Beltway to westbound Route 581 back to southbound I-81 in Cumberland County.
o For motorists approaching the Harrisburg area on northbound I-81, northbound I-81 is currently closed at Exit 59 in Cumberland County and motorists are then detoured by way of eastbound Route 581 on the Capital Beltway to northbound I-83 back to northbound I-81 in Dauphin County.
o An alternative for motorists around the I-81 closure between Exits 59 and 70 is the Pennsylvania Turnpike (Interstate 76). Tolls will be waived between the Carlisle interchange (Exit 226) and the Harrisburg East interchange just south of Harrisburg (Exit 247).
· The ramp from southbound I-81 to eastbound Route 22 toward the City of Harrisburg.
· Eastbound Route 22 through the I-81 Exit 67 interchange.
o This bridge has been seriously damaged, is no longer safe, and the spans over both northbound and southbound I-81 will be demolished and removed, starting today. This work is expected to take several days to complete before it is safe to allow traffic underneath on I-81.
o Plans are to build crossovers in the median of Route 22 and make the westbound roadway one lane in each direction. This work will take a few days to accomplish, especially if rain interferes with the placement of stone and asphalt for the crossovers. When this is accomplished, there will be one lane for eastbound Route 22 traffic through the interchange into Harrisburg and one lane for westbound traffic through the interchange heading toward Dauphin.
· The ramp from northbound I-81 to westbound Route 22/322.
o This is the ramp where the tanker truck overturned and caught fire. The deck was destroyed and needs to be replaced. Plans are to remove the deck of the bridge span over I-81 over the next few days. It may also be necessary to remove the entire superstructure of the bridge (this includes the beams). Traffic will not be allowed on I-81 under this bridge until this is accomplished.
Despite the tremendous inconvenience today’s fiery crash has caused motorists and travelers throughout the greater Harrisburg area, it is remarkable there was no loss of life or serious injury in today’s major incident.