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Accident-damaged Interstate 81 near Harrisburg reopening Monday night

Published On: May 13 2013 06:10:39 PM EDT   Updated On: May 13 2013 06:30:34 PM EDT

I-81 may reopen Tues


The reopening of accident-damaged Interstate 81 at Harrisburg began at 3:45 p.m. Monday, beginning with removing barricades from the I-81 South ramp to Cameron Street in the state capital.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and Pennsylvania State Police planned to open other routes as follows:

   *      I-81 South ramp to Cameron Street, including I-81 South back to I-83 North


   *       I-81 North lanes between U.S. Route 322 and U.S. Route 11

   *       Route 581 West at I-81 North

   *       I-81 North at Route 581 East

    *     I-81 South at I-83.

PennDOT anticipates the "transitional" reopening of I-81 will be completed by 10 p.m. Monday.

The I-81/Route 22/Route 322 interchange have been closed since early Thursday morning when a tanker truck hauling 7,500 gallons of diesel fuel overturned and burst into flames on the ramp from I-81 North to Route 322 West. The intense heat buckled steel beams and damaged the road so badly that officials feared the ramp would collapse onto the interstate below it.

PennDOT advised motorists traveling I-81 in the Harrisburg Monday evening area  that they may encounter slow-moving traffic control operations and shifting traffic patterns as as crews remove more  barrels, signs and barricades.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission will restore tolls for trips for the Harrisburg East Interchange to the Carlisle Interchange (and the reverse trip) starting at midnight. Tolls had been waived for this specific trip since 4 p.m. on May 9, allowing that section of I-76 to be used as an I-81 detour.