Tanker Fire Appears to Badly Damage Overpass

WGAL Viewer Craig Laudermilch

A tanker truck fully loaded with diesel fuel overturned Thursday and exploded into flames along Interstate 81, sending black smoke billowing into the sky and shutting down the heavily traveled artery near Harrisburg.

State police said the driver, a 52-year-old from Dover, Pa., was treated at a hospital for minor injuries.

The truck was headed northbound from Carlisle shortly after 6 a.m. when it flipped over on a ramp to Route 22-322 northbound, near the I-81 bridge over the Susquehanna River.

Crews were checking to see whether the massive fire had dripped diesel from the ramp onto I-81 and caused damage to bridges or the road surface. Later Thursday morning, Route 22-322's westbound lanes, away from Harrisburg, were reopened, but the region remained locked in a traffic nightmare.

Rush hour traffic was snarled throughout the Harrisburg area, as drivers scrambled to find alternate routes.

Harrisburg Area Community College shut down its nearby campus and rescheduled final exams from Thursday to Tuesday.

Wildwood Park and Olewine Nature Center, a county park that borders the interstate, also was closed for the day. Officials said it was the site of a "pollution spill," and state environmental officials, hazardous materials crews and local emergency officials were investigating.

I-81, a.k.a the American Legion Memorial Highway, is the longest north-south highway in the state running 234 miles from the Maryland to New York borders spanning eight counties.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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