I-95 reopens in Connecticut after gas tanker fire damaged Norwalk overpass

ByDakin Andone, CNN, CNNWire
Monday, May 6, 2024
I-95 reopens in Connecticut after gas tanker fire damaged Norwalk overpass
Traffic was back up running in both directions Monday morning at full capacity in Norwalk

NORWALK, Conn. -- A busy stretch of Interstate 95 in southwestern Connecticut reopened to traffic this weekend, just a few days after a gasoline tanker fire damaged an overpass and forced the highway to close in both directions.

Traffic was back up and running in both directions Monday morning "at full capacity" in Norwalk - in a heavily trafficked region some 40 miles northeast of New York City - CNN affiliate News 12 reported.

"Too often in government, you have politicians who overpromise and underdeliver; not the people standing behind me here," Gov. Ned Lamont said in a news conference Monday morning, flanked by a delegation of officials who led the cleanup, demolition and rebuilding. "These guys over-delivered - in less than 80 hours."

Northbound lanes of I-95 in Norwalk had been expected to reopen by 8 p.m. Saturday, according to Lamont's office, while the southbound lanes had been anticipated to open by Sunday at 10 a.m.

While the highway has reopened, work continues to replace the Fairfield Avenue Bridge, which was demolished after sustaining "significant damage" in Thursday's crash, Connecticut Transportation Commissioner Garrett Eucalitto said in the news release.

Officials hope to have a design for the new bridge completed within the next couple of weeks, the commissioner said at Monday's news conference, with the bridge reopening within the next year.

The effort is just the latest to get traffic flowing again after being shut down because of an accident: In the last year, Philadelphia and Los Angeles both managed to reopen interstates, and Baltimore faces its own endeavor to rebuild the Francis Scott Key Bridge, which collapsed in March after being struck by a cargo ship, killing six people.

The Connecticut recovery project - estimated at $20 million - should be funded by the federal government to spare local taxpayers, said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat.

"Whatever it costs, the federal government ought to bear the major - if not all - the major part of that cost," the senator said.

The governor, also a Democrat, declared a state of emergency in response to the accident, saying Thursday the interstate would be closed "at least through the weekend." Motorists were encouraged to avoid the area - a tall order, given Norwalk, home to about 90,000 people, is about 30 miles southwest of New Haven, Connecticut, and in the New York metro area.

The bridge was demolished by 12:30 p.m. Saturday, according to a news release that day from the governor's office. Crews then cleaned up debris and began repairing the highway before reopening northbound lanes.

The southbound lanes remained closed until Sunday because the damage was so severe "that those lanes need to be milled and repaved," the release said.

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