Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro provided more details on Wednesday about the work being done to reopen the I-95 interstate in Philadelphia. During a press conference, Shapiro announced that the plan consists of filling the gap with fill material and then paving it to create a temporary roadway to reopen the highway. Philadelphia-based company Buckley & Company has been hired to perform the work. This same company rebuilt a section of I-95 in Port Richmond after a fire in 1996. Shapiro reported that they expect the first loads of fill material to arrive on site on Thursday. Transportation Secretary Mike Carroll mentioned that the fill material is a lightweight product made from recycled glass that can be reused. "It is being designed to be completely reliable for the traveling public," said Carroll.
While the state works on constructing a permanent bridge to replace the collapsed section, three lanes will remain open in each direction. As for the remains of the current bridge, Shapiro announced that demolition is expected to be completed by Thursday. Shapiro and other officials emphasized that the work will be done as quickly as possible but did not provide a specific deadline. "Repairing and reopening I-95 is our top priority, and we are working tirelessly. Under the leadership of Secretary Carroll and with the support of our federal and local partners, as well as the skilled workers of Philadelphia, we are moving at full speed. The government is working for the well-being of the people of Pennsylvania. We have a lot to do, and together, we will achieve it," Shapiro stated.
A live stream will also be available for the public to observe the repairs in real-time. Pete Buttigieg promises federal support On Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg visited the site of the Sunday collapse and promised to help repair the highway. He noted that the destruction of a section of I-95 will likely increase shipping costs as truckers now have to take longer and more expensive routes. Buttigieg expressed that he expects the accident to result in cost increases along the East Coast. "This tragic accident is having a significant impact on travelers and the movement of goods along the I-95 corridor. It is a key artery for the transportation of people and goods. That's why it is so important to ensure that it is restored quickly. The only thing even more important than its prompt restoration is ensuring that it is restored safely," said Buttigieg.
Buttigieg said he had not seen any estimates on the cost increase but noted that the industry is looking to make the most of alternative routes. He suggested that the U.S. Department of Transportation is collaborating with route selection software companies such as Google and Waze to optimize their products. "At the end of the day, there is no substitute for I-95 being fully operational," added Buttigieg.
Buttigieg met with city and state officials to discuss how the U.S. Department of Transportation can assist in rebuilding the approximately 100-foot section of I-95, according to the agency. For now, I-95 will be closed in both directions for weeks, just as the summer travel season begins, disrupting hundreds of thousands of morning commutes and affecting countless businesses. The elevated portion of I-95 in the southbound direction will have to be demolished, as will the northbound side, authorities reported. Cause of the truck driver's death The Philadelphia Medical Examiner's Office officially identified the deceased victim in the tanker truck fire that caused the collapse of I-95. Authorities reported that Nathan Moody died from blunt force trauma to the head, smoke inhalation, and thermal burns. His death was classified as an accident. Moody was transporting gasoline on Sunday when he attempted to make a left turn after exiting the Cottman Avenue ramp of I-95. According to Secretary Carroll, Moody lost control while making the turn, and the tanker truck overturned and ruptured its own tank. Once ignited, the fuel burned at a temperature high enough to structurally compromise the concrete and steel beams of the elevated roadway. The Pennsylvania State Police claim that video of the accident and explosion are now part of the investigation. Moody's family reported that he worked for TK Transport in Pennsauken, New Jersey, and was an experienced truck driver. His death has been a devastating blow. "He was incredible. He was incredible," said his cousin, Isaac Moody, as he struggled to hold back tears. Isaac Moody stated that his cousin was his best friend. "I didn't expect this. No one expected this," Isaac Moody said. Al Newman mentioned that he served with Moody in the Pennsylvania National Guard, where Moody was a sergeant and sponsored him to become a Prince Hall Mason. "No matter what went wrong, Nate always had a smile on his face. He was the type of person that even in the negativity of some of the things that were happening in the military, he always found humor in it," Newman told Action News. Action News' 6abc camera was at the Pennsylvania Task Force One headquarters in the 6600 block of New State Road, in the Tacony section of the city on Monday afternoon when the remains of the truck were removed. Disaster Emergency Proclamation Governor Shapiro signed a disaster emergency proclamation following the collapse. According to a press release from the governor's office, "the proclamation allows the state to quickly access federal funding and authorizes state agencies to use all available resources to expedite the work and streamline the safe and efficient reconstruction process of I-95." The damaged segment of I-95 has a daily traffic volume of approximately 160,000 vehicles and is considered Pennsylvania's busiest highway, according to state officials. PennDOT rated the 104-foot stretch as being in good condition earlier this year, with another inspection expected in 2025. Authorities say the reconstruction of the highway could take months. In California, a similar situation occurred with a freeway ramp in Oakland, which was replaced in 26 days, according to retired Northwestern University civil and environmental engineering professor Joseph L. Schofer. In Atlanta, an elevated portion of Interstate 85 collapsed due to a fire, shutting down the heavily traveled route through the heart of the city in March 2017. Authorities took 43 days to replace it, according to Schofer.
Originally posted at Liga Legal® Abogados