All lanes of I-95 in Norwalk reopen just days after overpass fire in Connecticut

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Sunday, May 5, 2024
All lanes of I-95 in Norwalk to be open Sunday: CT Governor
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont announced on X that all lanes of the I-95 in Norwalk are expected to be open by 10 a.m. on Sunday.

NORWALK, Connecticut (WABC) -- All lanes of Interstate 95 in Norwalk reopened on Sunday, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont announced on X.

The Connecticut Department of Transportation informed Lamont that southbound lanes on the I-95 were set to fully reopen by 10 a.m.

"It is truly remarkable to complete this work in less than 80 hours," Lamont said in his post on Sunday morning.

There was some relief Saturday evening after northbound lanes of I-95 reopened around 8 p.m. At the time, the southbound side was expected to remain closed through at least Sunday as transportation crews resurfaced and repaved the road.

Drivers in Norwalk, Connecticut had been coping with the partial closure of the I-95 on Friday after a gasoline tanker fire damaged an overpass the day before.

As crews cleaned up the damage from Friday's fiery crash, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont announced that the state's department of transportation installed a live camera at the demolition site, which can be watched at any time.

"There is significant interest in this ongoing emergency project, and this live video feed will help in our mission of keeping the public informed of the latest conditions on the highway," Lamont said. "We encourage everyone to view the video feed safely from home and do not attempt to travel to Norwalk to visit the scene up close. Let the crews do their jobs so the highway can get reopened as quickly as possible."

The Connecticut Department of Transportation installed a new live camera at the Norwalk overpass demolition site that people can watch any time.

Workers on Friday began removing a bridge over the highway that was damaged in the fiery crash - a project expected to keep both sides of I-95 closed through the weekend and extend a traffic nightmare on the major artery linking New England and New York.

Crews took down metal fencing on the span in Norwalk before a large excavator began demolishing the concrete sides of the structure. Heavy equipment was brought in overnight. Gov. Ned Lamont said the hope is to reopen the highway by Monday morning.

Anthony Carlo has the latest from Norwalk and commuters reaction.

For three hours, flames raged out of control after a gasoline tanker, filled to the brim with 9,000 gallons of fuel, caught fire.

"This bridge is less than 10 years old and, you know, but the damage was pretty severe due to the amount of gasoline that was in the tanker ignited directly underneath the bridge structure," Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner Garrett Eucalitto said. "The steel did begin to overheat and warp."

The accident happened at 5:30 a.m. Thursday on the southbound side of I-95 in Norwalk.

Officials say a car cut off a tractor-trailer. The gasoline truck then swerved to avoid them, but the back of the tanker ripped apart.

Gas spewed on the road and cars, then burst into flames, which cooked the steel of the Fairfield Avenue Overpass, warping the bridge and damaging it beyond repair.

On the northbound side, gas and telephone utility lines running under the bridge were damaged.

No injuries were reported, but structural engineers determined the overpass must come down as traffic continues to snake around to avoid the area.

"There'll be extra rail service as needed if you want to go into New York and get up to Hartford, depending on where you're going from. My recommendation is if you can't stay home, take the train stay away from the cars," Lamont said.

I-95 will remain closed in both directions between exits 14 and 15. There are some 160,000 vehicles that drive through that area every day that now need to use a different route.

WATCH | Heather O'Rourke explains alternate routes after traffic mess from tanker fire:

Heather O'Rourke has traffic updates.

City officials are also working to help alleviate the flow of traffic in the area.

"We've scheduled some different staggering work times for people so that they can come in later, maybe go home earlier so we can reduce some of the traffic. But we're also asking a lot of our staff to work from home. So we feel that we'll keep some of the traffic off the road," Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling said.

School was closed Friday in Norwalk, including after-school activities. However, prom, games, and drama performances remain on.

Officials will keep a close eye on inclement weather over the weekend which could make road paving difficult. The Connecticut DOT says once construction of the new bridge begins, they will likely have to close down one lane on either side to start installing the beams, which will end up being a $20 million project.

The accident was reminiscent of a deadly one last year in Philadelphia when a tractor-trailer carrying gasoline along I-95 lost control and caught fire, destroying a section of the highway.

Thursday's crash also came just over a year after a similar wreck on I-95 in Connecticut that also forced the closure of the highway. In that April 2023 crash, a fuel truck caught fire after colliding with a stopped car on the Gold Star Memorial Bridge between New London and Groton. The fuel truck driver was killed. The crash shut down the southbound side of the bridge for hours, while the northbound side was closed briefly. The driver of the car was recently charged with negligent homicide.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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