The damaged section of Interstate 95 that collapsed in Philadelphia will be reopened within the next two weeks, Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro said Saturday.
The interstate crumbled June 11 after a tanker truck carrying 8,500 gallons of gasoline crashed and exploded in flames under the highway, officials said. The driver, identified as Nathan Moody, 53, was killed.
“I can tell you now, I can state with confidence, that we will have I-95 reopened within the next two weeks,” Shapiro said, speaking alongside President Joe Biden following the president’s aerial tour of the highway collapse.
“We are going to get traffic moving again, thanks to the extraordinary work that is going on here by these union trade workers,” he added. “These are special people working their tails off, and Mr. President, they are working 24/7 literally around the clock.”
Demolition work on the collapsed section of I-95 was completed Thursday. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation shared photos of what the temporary roadway will look like and a live feed showing the construction site and rebuilding process is now up and running 24/7, the governor’s office said Thursday.
PennDOT has hired a contractor to backfill the gap in the roadway so it can be paved over. Once complete, according to PennDOT, vehicles can return to the section of I-95 as crews work on a permanent bridge while keeping six lanes of traffic open.
Before the collapse, the bridge, which was 10 years old, was structurally sound and met current standards, Pennsylvania Transportation Secretary Mike Carroll said during a news conference Wednesday.
The collapse has caused major disruption for traffic, and the primary detour is about 23 miles using state or interstate roads, local transportation officials said earlier in the week.
The crumbled section of the highway typically carries about 160,000 vehicles through Philadelphia daily. About 8% of those vehicles are trucks, which will now need to take longer, more costly routes, US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said when he visited the site of the collapse Tuesday.
Shapiro did not say how much repairs will cost but has declared a state of emergency and allotted $7 million in state funds for reconstruction. The Federal Highway Administration sent the state an initial payment of $3 million, the head of the agency told a Senate committee Wednesday. In addition to emergency operations and repairs, the agency says the money can be used to help permanently restore the roadway.
Source : CNN