State police: Tractor-trailer driver uninjured, issued citation in fiery I-84 crash

Photo of Kendra Baker

NEWTOWN — The driver of the tractor-trailer involved in Tuesday morning’s fiery rollover crash on eastbound Interstate 84 walked away uninjured.

The crash occurred on the Rocheambeau Bridge near eastbound Exit 13 around 7:15 a.m. when a tractor-trailer, driven by a 58-year-old North Carolina man, lost control and struck a concrete barrier while crossing the bridge near the Southbury-Newtown line.

The collision caused the truck to overturn, blocking both lanes of the eastbound highway. Lumber on the truck fell off, damaging an exit sign on the highway, according to state police.

A crash Tuesday, March 30, 2021, closed I-84 near eastbound Exit 13 in the Newtown/Southbury area after a tractor-trailer lost control and struck a concrete barrier while crossing the Rochambeau Bridge, police said. Video: Courtesy of CT State Police

Both the eastbound and westbound sides of the highway were closed as state and Southbury police, Southbury and Newtown firefighters and the state Department of Transportation responded to the scene, leading to hours of traffic delays.

With I-84 access blocked between westbound exits 14 and 11 and eastbound exits 11 and 13, motorists were detoured through Southbury and Newtown, which caused heavier than usual traffic.

The crash did not cause any structural damage to the highway or bridge — nor did it delay the Rochambeau Bridge project’s construction timeline, said state Department of Transportation’s Rochambeau Bridge project manager Christopher Zukowski.

“We were in the process of performing work on the new westbound structure when the accident unfortunately occurred on the older structure (where traffic flows),” he said.

Zukowski said the crossover setup at the site — which allows construction to take place without impeding traffic flow, and vice versa — is why the crash did not affect the bridge work. He said the reconstruction project is still slated for completion in the fall of 2023.

The westbound lanes of the highway reopened to traffic around 1:45 p.m., but the eastbound side remained closed for several more hours.

“It took a significant amount of time to remove the rolled over truck and the lumber from the roadway in the eastbound direction,” Zukowski said.

As crews worked to clear the road, Zukowski said the state Department of Transportation inspected the Rochambeau Bridge to make sure there were no safety issues and none were found.

The tractor-trailer was eventually towed from the scene and the eastbound side of the highway reopened around 4:50 p.m., according to police.

The driver of the tractor-trailer was not injured in the crash, state police said, but he was issued an infraction for failure to maintain proper lane and operating with an unsecured load.