Fiery crash will close stretch of I-95 through Connecticut for days, governor says

Fiery crash will close stretch of I-95 through Connecticut for days, governor says

Both sides of Interstate 95 running through southern Connecticut will be closed for days after a collision involving a fuel truck caused a major vehicle fire and damaged an overpass, according to state officials.

The crash in Norwalk, Conn., occurred around 5:30 a.m. Thursday, when a fuel truck, car and tractor trailer collided on the interstate, causing the fuel tanker to burst into flames, Gov. Ned Lamont (D) said during a news conference.

No serious injuries or fatalities were reported, but the heat from the burning fuel damaged the Fairfield Avenue bridge, prompting the highway to close in both directions, per Lamont.

Images and videos from the scene show the tanker fully engulfed in flames, with the fire spreading across the roadway and up toward the bridge.

Lamont said the bridge is now compromised and must come down, with demolition beginning at 3 a.m. Friday. He estimated the process will take about 24 hours or slightly longer, before crews can begin repaving the roadways.

Crews are aiming to reopen both sides of traffic by Monday morning, according to Lamont.

The governor said he filed an emergency declaration Thursday afternoon and hopes to get federal reimbursement for replacement of the bridge.

“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 Transportation Commissioner Garrett Eucalitto said. “The steel did begin to overheat and warp.”

The tanker was carrying about 8,500 gallons at the time of the crash, The Associated Press reported.

Alerts were sent via text to residents of Connecticut, New York and New Jersey and to trucking companies to seek alternate routes, though congestion was still intense following the crash.

Traffic was backed up for dozens of miles during morning rush hour on I-95 and prompted backups in other surrounding highways, the AP reported.

Extra rail services will be added for those looking to go into New York or Hartford, Lamont said.

“My recommendation is if you can’t stay home, take the train, stay away from the cars,” he said.

The crash comes just more than a year since a fuel truck went up in flames after crashing with a car on Gold Star Bridge located between New London and Groton, Conn. The driver of the fuel truck was killed, and both sides of the highway were briefly shut down.

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