Queen Street overpass damaged again in afternoon crash; I-83 still closed in both directions

Staff report

Commutes could be a nightmare for many York countians for the rest of the week after the Queen Street overpass on Interstate 83 in York Township again was damaged in a Wednesday afternoon crash.

As off 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, the interstate was closed in both directions, as well as Queen Street, or Route 74, in both directions, according to Fritzi Schreffler, a spokesperson for the state Department of Transportation.

The South Queen Street bridge will be closed through Friday, York County Regional Police said in a statement Wednesday evening. Detours will be in place, but drivers should expect longer travel times.

The scene at the Queen Street bridge, which was again struck by a truck Wednesday, leading to road closures and delays fanning out across the area on Thursday.

This is the second time this year that a truck hit the overpass. It was struck in February, but work on a permanent repair began just two days ago.

Wednesday's crash occurred just before 3 p.m., when the driver of a northbound dump truck attempted to pass below the overpass with the truck’s bed raised, Schreffler said.

The bed of the truck remained wedged under the bridge Wednesday night, and the bridge was damaged to the point it cannot support Queen Street traffic, she said.

Schreffler said she did not know when the two major arteries would reopen, but she advised motorists to avoid the area Wednesday night — and Thursday morning.

Schreffler said she believed the truck driver was injured, but she did not know the extent of his injuries.

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Also, a motorist passing by at the time of the crash had their windshield shattered by debris, she said.

A temporary fix has been in place at the overpass since an 18-wheeler struck the span on Feb. 28. Work on a permanent repair, estimated to cost approximately $600,000, was scheduled to Monday and could last until the end of the year, causing lane restrictions and a closure of the interstate, according to PennDOT.

The department is in litigation with the trucking company whose driver damaged the bridge in February, and it hopes to recover the repair costs, Dave Thompson, a spokesperson for PennDOT’s District 8, said earlier this month. 

Thompson would not name the company or reveal any information about the court case. The York Dispatch has filed a Right-to-Know Law request for that information.

“The department always attempts to recoup damages from responsible parties through appropriate legal avenues when department structures are impacted, but due to ongoing litigation we cannot release any further specific details in the case,” Thompson said.

An exact schedule for the permanent repair is not clear.

“We are still waiting for the new beam fabrication to get closer to being completed before setting anything in stone,” Thompson said. 

The repair project includes the replacement of some damaged beams, heat straightening of other damaged beams, painting parts of the bridge, and removal and replacement of parts of the deck and bridge barrier located above the damage, Thompson said. 

The work is being done by J.D. Eckman Inc., a construction firm based in Atglen, Chester County.

PennDOT was aiming to have the South Queen Street overpass repairs completed by the end of the year, Thompson said.