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May 23, 2024

Section of I-95 fully reopens nearly a year after a truck fire caused overpass to collapse

Lanes had been closed as the highway above Cottman Avenue was under construction.

Transportation I-95
I-95 overpass collapse repair Provided Image/PennDOT

A section of an overpass on I-95 that collapsed during a June 2023 fire was down to six lanes while repairs were being done. All eight lanes will be reopened by Friday morning.

Nearly a year after a fire from a truck underneath Interstate 95 northbound caused an overpass to collapse, officials said repairs to that section of the highway are complete. 

All eight lanes of I-95 above Cottman Avenue in Northeast Philly plan to reopen Thursday, PennDOT said. Four lanes going southbound opened earlier in the morning with a speed limit of 55 mph. Four northbound lanes and Cottman Avenue are scheduled to reopen by 5:00 a.m. Friday, weather permitting. 

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"By this time tomorrow, I have every expectation that we should have I-95 fully reopen," Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Secretary Mike Carroll said.

The tanker-truck fire started June 11 between Exit 32 for Academy Road and Exit 30 for Cottman Avenue. After the overpass collapsed due to the blaze, all lanes were shut down and the highway was detoured. The driver of the truck, Nathan Moody, was the only casualty. 

Aided by federal funding and an official disaster declaration from Gov. Josh Shapiro, PennDOT and other officials completed a temporary roadway just 12 days later to reopen it to traffic. The temporary fix included backfilling the hole with 2,000 tons of glass nuggets from AeroAggregates of North America, a lightweight material that prevented the highway from sinking. 

At that time, six lanes of traffic reopened for drivers. Residents could also watch repairs through the I-95 repair livestream

Rob Buckley, president of Buckley & Co., the construction company tasked with rebuilding the highway, said this repair was really a two-year job that crews were able to finish in under a year. In total, the project including the temporary bridge cost $20 million, Carroll said, and about 90% of those funds came from the federal government.