Interstate 81 Closed This Weekend For Repairs After Massive Fuel Tanker Fire

(File photo.  Credit: CBS 3)

(File photo. Credit: CBS 3)

(Capitol dome, Harrisburg, Pa.   File photo) Tony Romeo
  Tony Romeo is Harrisburg bureau chief for KYW Newsradio...
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by Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa., (CBS) – Interstate 81 just north of Harrisburg will be closed at least through the weekend following a massive fuel tanker truck fire on a ramp above the highway. KYW Harrisburg Bureau Chief Tony Romeo reports.

The mishap occurred on the second level of a complex three-level interchange where Interstate 81 meets Route 22/322 north of Harrisburg. PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch says burning fuel from the tanker on a ramp above 81 damaged spans above the ramp that will have to be removed.

“Interstate 81 we expect to be closed until we get those spans removed. And I said that the most optimistic scenario would be Sunday night. However, we’ve got severe weather coming in,” said Schoch.

Route 22/322 is also closed temporarily and detours may result in heavier traffic on other roads including the turnpike south of Harrisburg. The ramp connecting 81 to 22/322 toward the State College area could take months to repair. State officials compared the disaster to a tire fire that damaged I-95 in Philadelphia in 1996.