Work continues along that stretch of highway above Interstate 81 where that tanker truck burst into flames.
It's been two months since it flipped over, caught fire and destroyed the ramp from I-81 to 22 west in Susquehanna Township. A big chunk of the 22 eastbound bridge has been removed, and that's been a big traffic headache. A midstate company is working as fast as it can to fill that gaping hole.
High Steel Structures in Lancaster took on the task. It's making the beams. Sounds simple, but it's anything but. “This whole job usually takes six or seven months, we're going to do it in two,” said Steve Bussanmas of High Steel Structures.
Along with shaping the steel, they have to cut it, weld it, drill it, paint it and ship it out. It's a big job. Even though these guys work on structures all across the country, this one hits close to home.
“Our guys will be driving under this bridge,” said Bussanmas. “I'm sure they'll lean over and tell the wife, 'Hey, I worked on that.'”
High Steel Structures is no stranger to this bridge; they've worked on it before. “We had fabricated the bridge steel for this bridge in the first place back in 1975,” said Bussanmas.”It made sense we would probably get a call from PennDOT to try to help them get this bridge back in service.”
PennDOT says this is crucial. “The bridge can't be built until the beams are fabricated and delivered,” said Greg Penny of PennDOT. “The key to getting the bridge built and re-opened before the winter comes in is the fabrication of the beams, and I think High Steel's really come through with flying colors.”
“We are on the critical path,” said Bussanmas, “The contractor relies on us being on the time we say we're going to be there.”
Everyone is working to make that happen. High Steel's motto says “Get er done for 81.”
“We're going to be on time, I feel certain we will be on time,” said Bussanmas.
High Steel says the beams will be ready to ship out on August 1st. PennDOT says the bridge should be complete by mid-November. The ramp the truck crashed on should be open by mid- to late September.