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I-95 in Norwalk, Connecticut was closed following a serious truck accident. The highway may not reopen for days.

NORWALK, Conn. – I-95 in Norwalk, Connecticut, is closed in both directions and may not reopen for days after a tanker truck crash burst into flames under an overpass Thursday morning.

Local roads are a chaotic mess as thousands of drivers traveling on one of the nation's busiest highways are diverted around the scene of an accident.

Officials called it a chain reaction crash. Just before dawn, a car came in front of a truck pulling a flatbed trailer as a tanker truck approached the Fairfield Avenue overpass just past exit 15 heading south.

“To avoid it, that semi-truck turned right and struck the other semi-truck, ripping open the bed of his gas tanker,” said Stephen Shay of the Norwalk Fire Department.

Bridge must be demolished

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On May 2, 2024, a fuel tanker crashed under an overpass on I-95 in Norwalk, Connecticut and burst into flames. The highway remained closed while a crew assessed the damage.

Chipper 2


The flames spread across the highway and burned the overpass. The fire caused significant damage to the structure and the gas, telephone and cable service lines running beneath it.

“This bridge is less than 10 years old, but the damage was quite severe due to the amount of gasoline that was in the tanker. It ignited directly under the bridge structure. The seal began to overheat and warp,” said a Connecticut Department of Transportation official said at a press conference. “Unfortunately, it is not possible to safely reopen the bridge under this bridge in both directions.”

The official said crews would begin removing the bridge as soon as possible and hoped to reopen the highway by Monday morning.

According to Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont's office, 160,000 vehicles travel the closed section of I-95 every day.

Click here to see Chopper 2 over the scene

“The traffic jams are terrible”

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The charred remains of two trucks and a passenger car lie on the shuttered I-95 in Norwalk, Connecticut, after a fiery crash shut down the highway on May 2, 2024.

CBS New York


“Thank God there were no serious injuries, but it did result in the closure of I-95 north and south, and that's unbelievable given the traffic jams and what's happening there,” Lamont said.

Hours after the fire was extinguished, the charred remains of two trucks and a passenger car lay on the closed highway between Exits 15 and 16.

According to the Connecticut Department of Transportation, the northbound lane closures began at Exit 13 in Darien.

“I know what an incredible inconvenience this is for people and I can only ask you to stay away from this area as best you can. The traffic jams are terrible,” Lamont said.

Drivers from Bridgeport to Port Chester, New York, received text message alerts to avoid I-95 and trucking companies were told to use I-87 and I-84 instead, Lamont said.

“For many truck drivers, we are on the clock. So we can only work 14 hours and drive 11 hours. So this impact slows down the delivery time for our loads,” said Avril Jenerette, a truck driver.

Motorists should also expect delays on the Merritt Parkway as crews work to clear 95.

“Our highway team is working closely with the Connecticut Department of Transportation on the tanker fire that closed I-95 in Norwalk. Please pay attention to local authorities regarding diversions and avoid the area if possible. Thank you to the first responders attending to and manning the fire.” “All other drivers are safe,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg posted on social media.

Thousands of gallons of fuel were spilled

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The aftermath of a tractor-trailer fire on I-95 in Connecticut on May 2, 2024.

CBS2


The area will remain closed “for an extended period of time,” Lamont said on social mediaas crews investigate the crash, clean fuel and monitor the structural integrity of the overpass.

Scott Hill, chief engineer for the Connecticut Department of Transportation, said the overpass was “stable and safe” but was damaged in the crash and is closed until further assessment can be made.

“There is damage to the bridge. So I want to make sure everyone knows that. We don’t know the extent yet, but it is not a collapse and the area is safe,” Hill said.

Utility cables dangled from the overpass.

Hazmat crews responded to the spill with concerns that material could spill into the Norwalk River. The truck had 8,500 gallons of fuel on board, 75% of which had either burned or spilled onto the highway, officials said.

Anna Harden

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