The pier in the median area between northbound and southbound Interstate 81 that used to support the eastbound Route 22 bridge over I-81. Analysis is underway to determine the extent of damage and whether the pier structure can be used. (PennDOT photo)
Core samplings are being sent to a lab for analysis. One concern is the extent of possible contamination of the concrete by the spilled diesel fuel. Contaminated concrete will require special handling and disposal at a regulated landfill. (PennDOT photo)
The view drivers see on the ramp from southbound I-81 to eastbound Cameron Street when approaching what used to be the underpass under the eastbound Route 22 bridge. (PennDOT photo)
Monday, May 13 2013 10:02 PM EDT2013-05-14 02:02:08 GMT
PennDOT has begun the process of reopening an 11-mile stretch of Interstate 81 that has been closed since a tanker fire last week.More >>
PennDOT has reopened an 11-mile stretch of Interstate 81 that has been closed since a tanker fire last week. More >>
HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -
Demolition work is expected to begin within the next several days on the Interstate 81 ramp damaged by a fiery tanker crash last week, PennDOT announced Wednesday.
PennDOT spokesman Mike Crochunis said preparations for the demolition are underway, and engineers and construction personnel currently are taking samples of the concrete deck and steel girders on the ramp from Interstate 81 northbound to Route 22/322 westbound.
The samples are being sent to laboratories for analysis to help determine PennDOT's next steps, Crochunis said.
PennDOT has already determined that the deck of the ramp must be replaced, but officials are not certain whether the bridge superstructure must be replaced as well, or what type of repairs may be necessary.
Officials have said that replacing the deck may take three months to complete. However, if the bridge's steel beams were damaged by the fire, the bridge superstructure would need to be replaced and the job would take about six months.
The ramp has been closed since the tanker overturned and crashed Thursday morning. Drivers who want to go from I-81 northbound to Route 22/322 westbound can follow a signed detour to Exit 72B (Linglestown), back onto I-81 from Mountain Road, then south to the ramp to Route 22/322 West.
A PennDOT contractor has installed wooden shielding under the bridge to protect I-81 traffic from falling debris until the bridge can be demolished.
Crochunis said PennDOT will also analyze the extent of damage to the piers of the bridge that carried eastbound Route 22 over I-81, which was damaged by heat from the fire on the ramp below and in danger of collapsing onto the interstate.
The damaged spans of the eastbound bridge have been removed, and traffic is currently sharing the westbound bridge into and out of Harrisburg near the Farm Show Complex.
The U.S. Department of Transportation on Tuesday announced the quick release of $2 million in emergency relief funds to help pay for the work involved in the reopening the interstate.
An 11-mile stretch of I-81, from Route 581 in Cumberland County to Interstate 83 in Dauphin County, reopened Monday evening.