Gov. Ned Lamont holds a press conference near the Gold Star Bridge

Flames and 2,200 gallons of home heating oil poured down the side of Interstate 95 on the Gold Star Bridge Friday following an accident between a tanker truck and a passenger vehicle closing the southbound side indefinitely. 

“Right now what you have is the Department of Transportation doing a structural analysis, making sure we’re not going to open it until it’s absolutely safe,” Gov. Ned Lamont said at a 3 p.m. press conference. “The intense wicked heat can potentially compromise the steel. We hope that’s not the case.” 

State officials said they don’t know how long it will take to get the southbound side reopened. 

Environmental officials were on scene trying to limit the environmental impact from the fuel oil spill. Officials said it was 85% contained just hours after the accident in which the driver of the tanker truck lost his life. 

“The pipes were on fire as the fuel oil spilled through it,” Lamont said. “Right now it looks like, thank God, that fuel oil is contained as well.” 

State police said they are still investigating the accident, but confirmed it looks like a tire fell off a passenger vehicle and caused the crash. 

Department of Transportation Commissioner Garrett Eucalitto said the Gold Star Bridge is the largest bridge in the state of Connecticut and carries about 60,000 vehicles per day. 

Repair work to the bridge was recently completed in 2018 and some of that was paid for by the federal Infrastructure package passed in 2021. 

“For now, it’s going to be an extended closure. We don’t know how long,” Eucalitto said. 

He said it’s a double-truss structure which means there are trusses on two sides of the bridge and nothing in the middle. 

“It’s going to require us to do an extensive look at the steel structure to see when it’s going to be safe to reopen it,” Eucalitto said.  

It’s unclear if the northbound side of the bridge could carry bidirectional traffic in the meantime, but Eucalitto it’s something they are looking at.