June 17, 2023
Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro said that the temporary bridge to replace the stretch of the I-95 interstate that collapsed last Sunday is expected to reopen in two weeks.
Shapiro made the claim on Saturday at a news conference at Atlantic Aviation Airport. Before the conference, Shapiro and President Joe Biden took an air tour of the collapsed site on a helicopter.
"I can state with confidence that we will have I-95 reopened within the next two weeks. We are going to get traffic moving again thanks to the extraordinary work that is going on here," Shapiro said, according to 6ABC.
Biden said the federal government would provide the funding needed to complete the restoration of I-95.
"It's critical. It's critical to our economy; it's critical to our quality of life. We're going to continue to do everything we can within our power to get this back open as quickly as easily as possible," Biden said via the Inquirer.
Earlier this week, Shapiro and other officials said that the site of the I-95 bridge collapse will be backfilled and paved to open the highway in Northeast Philadelphia. Crews are working on the project 24-7 to create a temporary road with three lanes traveling in each direction. The temporary road will remain open at all times, allowing traffic to pass through the stretch. Down the road, the construction of a new bridge will happen.
The backfill portion of the project will require about 2,000 tons of foamed glass nuggets from AeroAggregates of North America, which has a production site in Delaware County. The nuggets will be layered with additional support from metal caging. The lightweight material is favored to prevent the highway from sinking into the ground below, which has a sewer line running beneath Cottman Avenue.
Philadelphia-based Buckley & Co. has been hired as the contractor for the highway repairs.
There is a livestream from PennDOT of the I-95 repairs in Northeast Philly that offers an around-the-clock look at progress on the rebuilding of the highway bridge destroyed by a tanker-truck fire.
Early Sunday morning, 53-year-old Nathan Moody lost control of his tanker truck, crashing, which led to the interstate fire. The truck fell on its side beneath the I-95 overpass, igniting the fuel tank. The fire melted the highway's steel support beams, leading to the collapse of the northbound half of the bridge. Damages on the southbound side required it to be demolished too.
On an average day, about 160,000 vehicles travel the stretch of I-95 that was damaged. That stretch of the highway that was damaged was just recently reconstructed as a part of a $212 million project that was completed four years ago.
There are detours for commuters to take while construction of the temporary bridge is being completed.