This was the scene at around 8:40 a.m. on Saturday as the first section of the eastbound Route 22 bridge was lifted and removed from over northbound Interstate 81 and the ramp from northbound I-81 to westbound Route 22/322 where the fuel truck overturned on Thursday.
This first section of the bridge (beams and deck) was lifted and moved by two cranes this morning to a flatbed truck so that it could be hauled away to
a separate location for dismantling.
While demolition is underway on the eastbound Route 22 bridge over I-81, a caravan of tractor trailers arrived before 9 a.m. today on the westbound Route 22 bridge over I-81 to off-load concrete barrier that will be used to separate the opposing directions of traffic when this bridge is converted soon to two-way traffic – with one lane for westbound Route 22 traffic and the other lane for eastbound Route 22 traffic.
A contractor for PennDOT is currently working on building two “median crossovers” – one to carry a single lane of eastbound traffic over the median and onto the westbound roadway, over the bridge, and then back over the median to the eastbound roadway headed toward the City of Harrisburg.
A fiery tanker crash shortly after 6 a.m. on Thursday, May 9, 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.
Interstate I-81 in the Vicinity of Exit 67 North of Harrisburg Remains Closed – Progress is Underway
PennDOT mobilized crews, equipment, and electronic message signs throughout the Harrisburg metro area and Capital Beltway to manage safety for all travelers. I-81 was rerouted to the Interstate 83 and Route 581 portions of the Capital Beltway around the I-81 closure. Many of the interstate ramps in the area along I-81 were closed.
By the afternoon, westbound Route 22 was reopened to traffic and access available for motorists to westbound Route 22/322 toward Dauphin and State College, to northbound I-81 and southbound I-81.
By late Thursday night, access was restored to I-81 at Exit 61 (Route 944 / Wertzville Road) and Exit 65 (Route 11/15). Access was also restored to northbound I-81 across the George Wade Bridge in a single lane to the ramp at Exit 67 (Cameron Street) for eastbound Route 22 into the City of Harrisburg.
PennDOT reported the following travel conditions going into the weekend:
- Westbound Route 22 through the I-81 Exit 67 interchange is open. Access to northbound and southbound I-81 from westbound Route 22 is available. In other words, 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.
- Eastbound motorists on Route 22 can access the ramps for both northbound and southbound I-81 in the I-81 Exit 67 interchange. (It is the bridge that carries eastbound Route 22 over I-81 and into the City of Harrisburg that is closed.)
- The ramp from northbound Interstate 83 to southbound I-81 was reopened at around 4:45 p.m. yesterday 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.
- The ramp from northbound I-81 to eastbound Route 22 toward the City of Harrisburg at I-81 Exit 67 is open. This accommodates commuters and other motorists who can access northbound I-81 at Exit 61 (Route 944/Wertzville Road) and Exit 65 (Route 11/15) to continue across the George Wade Memorial Bridge to Exit 67 (Cameron Street).
- The interchanges at I-81 Exit 61 (Route 944/Wertzville Road) and I-81 Exit 65 (Route 11/15) are open to traffic. Northbound motorists can go only as far as Exit 67 for eastbound Route 22 into Harrisburg.
In the I-81 Exit 67 interchange, the following remain closed:
- Northbound and southbound I-81.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. Prep work started last evening and demolition should start today. This work is expected to take a few days to complete before it is safe to allow traffic underneath on I-81. The contractor hired for this assignment is working around-the-clock to remove the bridge to enable PennDOT to reopen I-81 as soon as possible.
- 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.