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 in the I-81 Exit 67 interchange just north of Harrisburg damaged and forced the closure of the bridge that carries eastbound Route 22 over I-81 and also forced the closure of I-81 under the bridge due to concerns about the stability of the bridge and motorists passing underneath. Demolition is underway to remove the eastbound Route 22 bridge from over I-81. The first section of this bridge over northbound I-81 was removed at around 8:40 a.m. on Saturday. The rest of the bridge structure over northbound I-81 was removed this by around mid-day today. The contractor this afternoon started dismantling and removing the span over southbound I-81. The removal of these bridge spans from over I-81 is critical in making conditions safe for allowing traffic underneath on I-81. The contractor (J.D.Eckman) is working around the clock to make this happen by Tuesday, if not earlier.
In addition to demolition of the eastbound Route 22 bridge, the eastbound Route 22 traffic connection to Harrisburg was restored today at around 3 p.m. A separate contractor (Pennsy Supply) worked to build median crossovers to take a single lane of eastbound traffic onto the westbound roadway, over the westbound bridge, and then back onto the eastbound roadway toward the City of Harrisburg. Traffic on Route 22 through the interchange is now limited to one lane in each direction, separated by concrete barrier.
Wooden shielding is being placed under the ramp from northbound I-81 to westbound Route 22/322. This is the ramp on which the tanker truck capsized on Thursday morning and caught fire. The deck needs to be replaced, but it is not necessary to demolish it before reopening I-81 to traffic underneath. Instead, demolition will take place later and the shielding will protect traffic underneath from falling debris. This is standard practice for bridge deck replacements. The contractor is taking advantage of the interstate closure to install it now rather than install it later and interfere with traffic.
Other than the restoration of eastbound Route 22 toward the City of Harrisburg, travel conditions continue as stated in Friday morning’s update.
Above is the scene at Interstate 81 Exit 67 at about 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 12. This perspective is taken from the I-81 northbound roadway. Behind the 500-ton crane on the right, you can see that the contractor has removed the eastbound Route 22 bridge span over the northbound lanes. This was completed a little earlier in the day. What remains to be done tonight and tomorrow is the removal of the bridge span over the southbound lanes, visible between the two cranes. (By the way, each of the cranes costs about $6 million, and roughly $8,000 a day to rent.)
To the right are the timber planks that are being installed as shielding under the ramp from northbound I-81 to westbound Route 22/322. The shielding will protect traffic on I-81 from falling debris when demolition gets underway on the deck of the ramp.
The photo above shows how the timber planks are being installed between the bridge beams to serve as shielding. Below is a view of Route 22 through the interchange – one lane in each direction on the westbound roadway and bridge. Note the portion of the crossover on the far right.
The above article provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.