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U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Announces $2 Million in Quick Release Emergency Relief Funds for Damaged Bridges on I-81/SR22 Interchange Near Harrisburg

FHWA 22-13

U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Announces $2 Million in Quick Release Emergency Relief Funds for Damaged Bridges on I-81/SR22 Interchange Near Harrisburg

WASHINGTON - U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced that the Department of Transportation is making $2 million in quick release emergency relief funds immediately available to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation for Interstate 81/State Route 22/322 ramps recently damaged by a truck fire.    

“The Obama Administration stands ready to provide emergency relief for cleanup and repair efforts to help communities return to normal after local disasters,” said Secretary LaHood. “We are working with our state partners to get traffic moving again as quickly as possible.”

On May 9, a tractor trailer loaded with approximately 7,500 gallons of diesel fuel crashed, overturned and ignited on a ramp of the I-81/SR22/322 interchange in Harrisburg, Pa. The crash created a major fire and explosions after the tanker fully ignited.  The fire caused significant damage to an off-ramp bridge and an overhead US22 Westbound bridge, both of which are located over I-81.

“This money represents a down payment on our commitment to the people of Pennsylvania,” said Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez. “It’s important to make repairs as soon as possible for area residents and businesses that rely on this connection.”

Total repair costs are currently estimated to exceed $10 million, including bridge work, maintaining traffic flow, and environmental/fuel clean-up costs.

The $2 million provided today will go toward paying for emergency repairs needed to restore essential traffic on I-81 and SR 22/322.  The Federal Highway Administration’s Emergency Relief Program provides funds for the repair or reconstruction of roads and bridges damaged by natural disasters or catastrophic events.

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013