After being closed to traffic for 12 days, the damaged section of Interstate 95 through Philadelphia reopened Friday. A tanker truck fire beneath the interstate on June 11 caused one bridge to collapse and left another heavily damaged.
Federal, state, and local entities combined to push for reopening the stretch of the interstate as quickly as possible by backfilling the area which had collapsed. New bridges are to be built at a later date, according to state authorities.
“Over the past 12 days, the eyes of the nation have been on Pennsylvania. We showed them what our grit and our determination are all about,” said Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro prior to opening the roadway. “We showed them good government in action, and this is what we can do when all levels of government come together to get the job done.”
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation provided a page with a 24/7 video feed to keep people updated on the progress and more recently shared a video showing timelapse images of the demolition and repairs.
The governor explained how teamwork made the reopening possible, pointing to the local building trades, the local transit authority for adding capacity while the road was out of service, local restaurants for helping feed workers, and even Ponoco Raceway for providing jet driers to ensure the new roadway stayed dry so striping could be painted.
“The building trades folks behind me and the folks to my right, they are the real heroes here. They constructed this in a skillful and speedy way and I'm eternally grateful for their dedication,” said Mike Carroll, Pennsylvania secretary of transportation.
Carroll also urged motorists to use caution as they pass along the repaired stretch of road, pointing out that the lanes are 11 feet wide, a little narrower than normal.
“I know everybody goes fast, sometimes I do too. But the reality is I hope everybody can just go through this at a safe speed and keep each other safe,” added Carroll.
Scope of 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.