Rochambeau Bridge Closed Following Truck Rollover, Fire In Construction Zone
UPDATE (3:19 pm): The westbound section of the bridge carrying traffic over Lake Zoar has reopened. I-84 East remains closed between Exits 11 and 14.
* * * * *
A tractor-trailer rollover in the Rochambeau Bridge construction zone Tuesday morning created miles-long delays and the closure of the bridge. As of midday, the bridge remained closed in both directions, creating long slowdowns on the highway and pockets of heavy traffic on secondary roads as drivers tried to navigate over Lake Zoar between Newtown and Southbury.
Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue and Newtown Hook & Ladder were dispatched to the bridge around 7:16 am, March 30. At the time, firefighters were told that a tractor-trailer carrying lumber had crashed, and fluids were leaking from the vehicle.
As they were responding, however, firefighters were told that the vehicle had caught on fire. Diesel leaking from the truck combusted, destroying the truck.
Southbury Volunteer Fire Association was also dispatched to the call.
The driver of the tractor-trailer was out of the vehicle, uninjured.
Sandy Hook Fire & Rescue Chief Bill Halstead was incident commander.
DEEP was also sent to the scene. Fluids from the truck, and the materials used to put out the fire, were going into Lake Zoar below the bridge.
State troopers diverted westbound traffic at the Exit 13 onramp, sending traffic over that ramp to get vehicles off the highway just before the Rochambeau Bridge. Troopers also began sending westbound traffic off the highway at Exit 14 in Southbury.
Eastbound traffic was diverted at Exit 11. The crash on the bridge meant heavy secondary road traffic in Newtown and Southbury for much of the morning. At one point, Newtown police officers were sent to assist in Hawleyville, when traffic leaving the highway was causing travel delays in that area.
By 8:30 am, westbound traffic was all but stopped for about five miles, nearly back to Exit 16; eastbound traffic was nearly standstill for the same distance, back to the Currituck Road overpass.
When Sandy Hook Fire & Rescue cleared from the crash scene around 10 am, delays were still miles long in both directions.
Brookfield provided coverage for Hook & Ladder at its station. Stevenson sent a crew to cover Sandy Hook’s main station.
By late morning it was announced that the road would remain fully closed for at least a few more hours.
Eastbound traffic is still being diverted off the interstate at I-84 Exit 11. The Exit 11 onramp, at Wasserman Way, is closed in both directions.
Westbound traffic is being sent off the highway at I-84 in Southbury.
The bridge the crash happened on usually only carries I-84 East traffic, but is currently carrying both directions while the westbound span is being rehabilitated. A large section of the span that traditionally carries eastbound traffic has been pulled up by construction crews, who have been working since last summer.
This is a developing story. See this week’s print edition for full details.