Rebuilding Collapsed Section of I-95 in Philadelphia Expected to Take Months

Part of I-95 collapses in Philly
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A section of Interstate 95, the main north-south interstate highway on the East Coast that runs from Florida to a Maine-Canada border crossing, collapsed Sunday after a fire broke out beneath an overpass in Philadelphia.

It will take months to repair the elevated stretch of Interstate 95 that crumbled early Sunday after a fuel tanker carrying flammable cargo caught fire beneath an overpass in Philadelphia, authorities said.

Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro provided reporters with the estimated repair time and said he plans to issue a disaster declaration Monday to expedite funds for repairs. 

No one was immediately reported to be injured in the collapse, which occurred before 6:30 a.m., about two hours after a fiery crash took place on a ramp underneath the section of the overpass that went on to fall.  

Human remains believed to be the driver of the tanker truck were found in the cab of the tractor-trailer Monday, WPVI-TV reported, citing sources. The remains have not yet been identified. The tanker truck was carrying 8,500 gallons of 87-octane fuel, sources told the news station. "From what we understand the tractor trailer was trying to navigate the curve. (He) lost control of the vehicle, landed on its side and ruptured the tank and ignited the fire," said Michael Carroll, the secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, WPVI-TV reported. 

The fire weakened the bridge enough to bring two miles of northbound lanes down, authorities told CBS Philadelphia. The northbound lanes of I-95 were gone, and the southbound lanes were “compromised” because of heat from the fire, said Derek Bowmer, battalion chief of the Philadelphia Fire Department. 

Transportation secretary Pete Buttiegege tweeted that he was, “Closely monitoring the fire and collapse on I-95 in Pennsylvania. I‘ve been in touch with FHWA and spoke with Gov. Shapiro to offer any assistance that USDOT can provide to help with recovery and reconstruction.”

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre tweeted that President Biden had been briefed on the matter. The National Transportation Safety Board said they were joining the investigation.

Federal transportation officials say about 125,000 vehicles travel that portion of I-95 daily. Interstate 95 is the main north-south interstate highway on the East Coast. It runs from U.S. Route 1 in Miami, Florida, north to the Houlton–Woodstock Border Crossing between Maine and the Canadian province of New Brunswick.

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