THE NATIONAL Transportation Safety Board should investigate the tanker crash that closed Interstate 81 and Route 322 earlier this month. Such an investigation could provide additional details about why and how the crash happened, as well as ways to increase highway safety in our region.
On Monday, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey said he sent a letter to federal regulators asking them to investigate the crash. On May 9, a tanker from Carlisle containing 7,500 gallons of diesel fuel flipped over onto the Route 322 on-ramp that crosses I-81. For days, the interchange was closed, wreaking havoc on commuters across central Pennsylvania.
Through that weekend and into the next week, commuters were forced to detour off I-81 north. Repairs, estimated to cost a minimum of $10 million — at least $2 million of which is expected to be covered at the federal level — are likely to take months.
Weeks later, we’re still unclear as to what caused the crash. Charges haven’t been filed, but it’s not even clear who is investigating the accident. (Disturbingly, repeated calls to state police seeking clarity have resulted in variants of “We’re not sure who’s handling that accident.”) Given the number of unanswered questions, and given the enormity of the accident and the chain reaction it caused, regulators ought to step in, as the senator has asked. And since federal taxpayer dollars are going to be footing at least part of the repair bill, it’s only right that federal investigators should have a role here.
In lieu of an agency taking a clear lead in this investigation, asking the NTSB to step in absolutely is the right call.We applaud the senator for looking out for us at the federal level.
The Sentinel (Carlisle, Pa.)