The damaged portion of Interstate 95 that collapsed in Philadelphia on June 11 will reopen this weekend, Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro announced, highlighting the reopening comes ahead of schedule thanks to the “24/7” work of crews at the site.
“We have made tremendous progress over just the last few days,” the governor said in a Tuesday news conference.
“I can confidently state right here, right now, that traffic will be flowing here on I-95 this weekend … We have completed every phase of this project safely and way ahead of schedule.”
Since demolition of the damaged part concluded Thursday and construction work began, crews worked to fill the affected roadway with a “specially designed, Pennsylvania-made recycled glass aggregate,” transportation officials said.
The section of interstate crumbled after a tanker truck carrying 8,500 gallons of gasoline crashed and exploded in flames under the highway, officials said. The driver, identified as Nathan Moody, 53, was killed.
The collapse has caused major disruption for traffic, and the primary detour is about 23 miles using state or interstate roads, local transportation officials have said. The affected part of the highway typically carries about 160,000 vehicles through Philadelphia daily.
Throughout the rest of this week, crews will be paving three new lanes in both directions of the interstate, the governor’s office said in a news release.
The temporary lanes will work to relieve commuters while work continues to rebuild the outer sections of the interstate’s permanent bridge, the transportation department said.
“This team is the best in the world,” the governor said Tuesday. “Nothing gets in their way. This weekend they worked through the pouring rain. Just yesterday they worked through the scorching heat, they have worked literally around the clock, 24/7, in 12-hour shifts.”
Experts had originally predicted it would take “months” to reopen the highway, the governor added.
“This is what it looks like when we all work together,” he said.
When asked whether the roadway would likely open Saturday or Sunday, the governor could not give a specific day. “The paving is going to require about a 12-hour window of weather, so depending upon we get that started, we’ll be able to give you a more precise time,” Shapiro said.
Source : WTOP