PA gets $2M in emergency funding for tanker fire repairs

By:  Myles Snyder

The U.S. Department of Transportation will send $2 million in emergency funding to Pennsylvania for repairs to two bridges damaged by a fiery tanker crash on Interstate 81 near Harrisburg.

U.S. Senator Bob Casey announced the federal funding Tuesday afternoon.

"I urged the Administration to approve aid for the state without delay so we could begin the work of rebuilding I-81," Casey said in a news release. "I-81 is a critical part of our state's transportation infrastructure and economy."

An 11-mile stretch of Interstate 81 was shut down after the tanker overturned and caught fire Thursday morning on the ramp from northbound I-81 to westbound Route 22/322 in Susquehanna Township.

PennDOT reopened the interstate Monday evening after a contractor removed two damaged spans of the bridge that carries Route 22 into Harrisburg near the Farm Show Complex.

Officials said the spans were damaged as the tanker burned on the ramp below, and were in danger of collapsing onto the interstate.

The damaged spans have not yet been replaced, but eastbound traffic has been redirected to the westbound lanes.

Construction workers also installed wooden shielding under the bridge from northbound I-81 to westbound Route 22/322, where the tanker overturned and caught fire.

Officials said the shielding will protect I-81 traffic from falling debris until the bridge can be demolished.