United States

I-95 Shutdown In Norwalk: Fuel Truck Crash Causes Chaos, Delays, And Urgent Measures

A fuel truck collision on I-95 in Norwalk, Connecticut, has led to a shutdown of both northbound and southbound lanes, causing chaos and significant delays for thousands of motorists. The incident, labeled a chain-reaction crash, resulted in flames engulfing an overpass, prompting urgent measures from authorities to manage the aftermath.

Norwalk Police Department
Truck Crash 1-95 Photo: Norwalk Police Department

Both northbound and southbound lanes of I-95 in Norwalk, Connecticut, have been shut down following a fuel truck collision that ignited into flames on Thursday morning. The incident has thrown local traffic into disarray, with thousands of motorists navigating alternate routes around the accident site on what is among the busiest highways in US.

Authorities have labeled the event a chain-reaction crash. Prior to daybreak, a vehicle veered in front of a flatbed trailer truck as a fuel tanker approached the Fairfield Avenue overpass shortly after Exit 15 south. The resulting flames engulfed the overpass, causing significant structural damage and impacting gas, phone, and cable lines situated beneath it.

Ironically, the incident occurred directly below the Norwalk Fire Department headquarters, located adjacent to the highway.

I-95 Closure Causes Chaos and Delays, Prompting Urgent Measures

"Thank God no serious injuries, but it has resulted in the closing of I-95 North and South and that is incredible in terms of the traffic jams and what's happening there," stated Gov. Ned Lamont.

After the fire was extinguished, the burned remains of two trucks and a passenger vehicle remained on the highway between Exits 15 and 16.

According to the Connecticut Department of Transportation, closures of northbound lanes commenced at Exit 13 in Darien.

"I know what an incredible inconvenience this is for people and all I can ask you to do is stay away from that area as best you can. The traffic jams are horrendous," Lamont emphasized.

Text alerts advising against using I-95 were sent to drivers from Bridgeport to Port Chester, New York, while trucking companies were instructed to utilize I-87 and I-84 instead, Lamont stated.

"For a lot of truckers, we're on the clock, can only work 14 hours and drive 11 hours. So the impact, this slows down the delivery time for our loads," explained Avril Jenerette, a truck driver.

Drivers should anticipate delays on the Merritt Parkway as well while crews continue to clear I-95.

"Our highways team is working closely with Connecticut's DOT on the tanker fire that has closed I-95 in Norwalk. Please heed local authorities on detours and avoid the area if possible. Thank you to the first responders who are dealing with the fire and keeping other drivers safe," Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg shared on social media.

Fuel Spill Prompts Shutdown, Damage Assessment, Cleanup

According to Governor Lamont's social media update, the affected area will remain shut down "for an extended period" while crews conduct an investigation into the collision, manage fuel cleanup, and assess the structural soundness of the overpass.

Scott Hill, Connecticut's DOT chief engineer, reassured the public that while the overpass sustained damage in the crash, it is currently deemed "stable and safe." Nevertheless, it will remain closed until further evaluation can be conducted.

"There is damage to the bridge. So I want to make sure everybody knows that. We don't know how extensive yet, but it's not a collapse issue and the area is safe," stated Hill.

Utility wires were observed hanging from the overpass.

Following the spill, hazmat teams were dispatched to address the situation, expressing worries about contaminants reaching the Norwalk River. Officials disclosed that the truck had been transporting 8,500 gallons of fuel, with 75% either burned or spilled onto the roadway.