Fast Work On I-95 In Connecticut

Iron worker John Jones, of Ansonia, Conn., works on the assembly of a temporary bridge on the deck of southbound Interstate 95, Sunday, March 28, 2004, in Bridgeport, Conn. Construction workers whooped and cheered Sunday as a parade of cars, escorted by police, traveled on northbound Interstate 95 for the first time since a fiery tanker crash.
Repairs on a fire-damaged stretch of Interstate 95 are well ahead of schedule, meaning one less commuter headache for some motorists beginning the work week.

Northbound lanes reopened Sunday on a stretch of one of the nation's busiest highways, three days after a fire from a wrecked tanker truck partially melted an overpass.

The scheduled reopening of the more heavily damaged southbound lanes, meanwhile, was pushed up to Thursday.

During a tour of the repair site on Interstate 95, Gov. John G. Rowland told Monday morning commuters they could have confidence in the emergency repair work. "It's going to be safe," he said.

Construction workers cheered as a parade of cars, escorted by police, traveled on Interstate 95 on Sunday for the first time since Thursday, when a truck carrying 12,000 gallons of home heating oil struck a barrier and erupted into flames.

"A lot of hard work was put into that," said highway worker Larry Daddio, holding a cigar as he watched traffic creep across the pavement shortly after 5 p.m.

Transportation officials said repair work was progressing faster than expected. The northbound lanes originally had been expected to be reopened at midweek, with southbound lanes to be back in service over a temporary span next weekend.

The damage shut down a one-mile stretch of the highway, which normally carries 120,000 vehicles a day between New York and Boston.

By Laura Walsh