Demolition of the collapsed I-95 bridge in Philadelphia is anticipated to be completed this week, according to Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro. He and transportation leaders provided more details of the plan for reopening the section of I-95 that was damaged by a tanker fire over the weekend.
“We have determined, collectively, the most efficient way to reopen I-95 is to backfill the gap in the roadway behind me and then pave over it,” the governor said in a press briefing from the site. “Once completed, cars and trucks can return to this stretch of I-95, and then we will work together to build a permanent bridge."
The state department of transportation, PennDOT, announced it is working with engineers from the Federal Highway Administration and Philadelphia-based contractor Buckley & Company to backfill the gap.
PennDOT also announced a live feed where people can view the progress of the work 24/7.
“Listen, Philly is a sports town, and I am a sports guy, and I am competitive as hell. I want to get this road reopened as quickly as possible,” Shapiro said. “This is a team sport. We're going to work together to show everyone that we can do big things in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”
The governor said the federal government is offering support to help get the interstate open, and repaired, as quickly as possible. U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg was among federal officials who visited the site earlier this week and met with Shapiro and other local and state officials.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration on June 15 announced the immediate availability of $3 million in “quick release” Emergency Relief funds for use as a down payment by PennDOT to offset costs of repair work. More funding is available through the FHWA’s Emergency Relief program, according to an FHWA news release.
Effect on Truck Traffic
According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, trucks carry millions of tons of freight and billions in dollar-value through the region annually. In 2021, trucks carried 21 million tons of freight worth $104 billion between major goods producing and consuming areas to the north and south of the Philadelphia region.
Fortunately for freight movement in the I-95 corridor, said BTS, the bridge collapse occurred in a part of the highway network that has major alternative routes. Freight can travel around Philadelphia on the New Jersey Turnpike and I-295 without significant additions to distances traveled.
The major disruption is to local freight movements between central Philadelphia its northeastern suburbs such as Bucks County. Displaced traffic from I-95 to I-295 and the New Jersey Turnpike may cause increased congestion and affect travel times of trucks.
Updated 6/16, 11:30 a.m. EDT, to add BTS and funding information.