Truck fire closes busy Harrisburg-area interchange indefinitely

Many state employees allowed to leave work early to ease congestion

Truck fire closes busy Harrisburg-area interchange

SUSQUEHANNA TWP., Pa. - State emergency management officials are preparing a disaster declaration in the wake of a fiery crash near Harrisburg.

A tanker hauling 7,500 gallons of diesel fuel overturned and burst into flames on the ramp from Interstate 81 North to Route 322 West in Susquehanna Twp., Dauphin Co., shortly after 6 a.m. Thursday.

The 52-year-old driver of the tractor trailer escaped the crash with just minor injuries, state police said.

The highways around the crash, however, fared far worse. Some of the area will remain closed for at least a few days because of the damage done by the fire.

"Clearly, the loss of this major traffic intersection and artery presents a challenge to the midstate, its workers and the businesses," Gov. Tom Corbett said during a news conference Thursday afternoon.

The Corbett administration allowed many of its employees in the Capitol Complex to go home two hours early to ease traffic congestion around the Harrisburg area.

Transportation Secretary Barry Schoch said he hopes I-81 can reopen early next week after the damaged section of Route 22-322 above it is removed. He also hopes by Monday to convert one of the two unaffected Route 22-322 eastbound lanes into a westbound lane. The detour, he said, could last a couple months.

Until I-81 reopens, the Pa. Turnpike will waive tolls for trips between the Harrisburg East (#247) and Carlisle (#226) interchanges.

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