Bridge over section of I-95 in process of being demolished due to damage from truck fire

The Fairfield Avenue overpass is currently being replaced. Demolition of the bridge began early this morning.

Sandrina Rodrigues, Tom Krosnowski, Rose Shannon and Marissa Alter

May 3, 2024, 9:58 AM

Updated 26 days ago

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Interstate 95 in Norwalk is expected to be closed until at least Monday morning following a massive tanker truck fire.
The crash happened around 5:30 a.m. Thursday on the south side of the highway, between Exits 15 and 14.
A tractor-trailer, a petroleum tanker and a car collided, igniting a fire that fully engulfed the tanker.
The fire required every Norwalk fire truck to respond, along with some from surrounding towns and cities.
The gasoline-fed fire was very difficult to extinguish, with flames roasting the Fairfield Avenue overpass, officials say.
The overpass is currently being replaced. Demolition of the bridge began Friday morning.
"Once the concrete is removed from the structure, we have equipment on the way, large shears that will be able to remove the actually beams from the bridge," says Garrett Eculito, Department of Transportation commissioner
The entire process could last through early Saturday.
Once the demolition is complete, crews will need to repair the road.
The goal is for the highway to reopen for the Monday morning commute, but the timeline is weather dependent.
Officials say there will not be a temporary bridge
It will be least a year to build a new bridge, cutting off one of the Norwalk's major arteries.
"It's not ideal but we understand that. It was closed when they were reconstructing the bridge eight years ago and it'll be a little bit of an inconvenience," says Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling.
FEDERAL HELP
Gov. Ned Lamont declared a state of emergency in response to the fire and called on the federal government for help.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal said Friday the cost of reconstruction of the bridge will be covered by the federal government. He anticipated the costs would be at least $20 million and said there is money specifically set aside for emergencies like this.
COMMUTER IMPACT
Officials emphasized those who did not have to travel to Norwalk, to avoid the city Friday. People were encouraged to work from home and commuters were asked to use public transportation.
One woman who spoke to News 12 said they took the bus to get to work.
"They're not on time, but I guess they're doing the best they can," she said.
Drivers told News 12 it appeared truck drivers got the message to avoid the city.
"It was worse yesterday. Most of the truckers were on the back streets tying up traffic in the entire neighborhood. Now they're all here on the Post Road, Connecticut Avenue, keeping things moving slow, but they are moving."
SCHOOLS AND EVENTS AFFECTED BY HIGHWAY CLOSURES
Norwalk Public Schools were closed Friday due to the anticipated traffic concerns. Athletic games, drama performances and proms are still on, while practices are canceled.
A Norwalk first-grade teacher says getting through the day Thursday was chaotic for staff and students.
"We're trying to get math done, and kids are coming in starting their breakfast. Then I know buses are trying to leave, kids are being dropped off late. I didn't want to show them pictures of a big bridge on fire because I didn't want to scare them. So, I kind of was just like, 'Oh yeah, there's a big accident.' Definitely the right call to postpone for a day," said Caitlin Brown.
Stamford Public Schools had a two-hour delay Friday. School officials say families should expect bus delays as well.
Darien Public Schools also had on a two-hour delay Friday due to the closure of I-95.
The 3rd annual NorWALK for Mental Health Walk and Wellness Fair has been postponed until Saturday, May 11.
Norwalk's Open Streets Walk, Bike and Roll Festival has also been posted. Officials say a new date will be announced soon.
The annual celebration of the Norwalk River Valley Trail has been canceled and might be rescheduled to later this year.

DETOUR INFORMATION

Norwalk police said the following roads have been closed to help detour traffic throughout the city:
  • I-95 North is closed at Exit 14, traffic will be diverted off of that exit, and drivers can reenter I-95 at Exit 15 North.
  • Drivers going southbound, will be diverted off of Exit 15, onto West Avenue, and can get back on I-95 at Exit 14 South.
  • Additional officers will be working throughout the weekend to direct traffic through various intersections.
  • Fairfield Avenue is closed from Cedar Street to Connecticut Avenue.
  • Cedar Street is closed eastbound from Connecticut Avenue to Fairfield Avenue and is closed in both directions from Fairfield Avenue to Reed Street.
  • Stuart Avenue is closed southbound from Connecticut Avenue to Reed Street.
Motorists are reminded to avoid the affected areas, exercise caution and remain patient while traveling in the area.


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