Collapsed I-95 in Philadelphia To Open in Weeks

Over 160,000 vehicles pass through the area daily.

Source : U.S. Federal Highway Administration

June 27, 2023

Author : Alex Bustillos

I-95 is a major North-South highway that connects major American states. It is a significant East Coast highway stretching nearly 2,000 miles connecting Maine and Florida.

On the second weekend of June, a fuel tanker carrying more than 8,000 liters of gasoline caught fire beneath an overpass in Philadelphia, resulting in the collapse of a portion of the highway. The southbound lanes were severely damaged, while all the elevated northbound lanes were demolished on the road below. The 53-year-old truck driver Nathan Moody lost his life in the incident.

This accident has caused massive traffic congestion and delays. Governor Josh Shapiro announced a disaster declaration, which made $7 million of state funds available for immediate reconstruction of this major US east coast artery.

Over 160,000 vehicles pass through on an average day across the impacted region.

As per Gov. Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvania, the stretch of Interstate 95 in Philadelphia that collapsed on June 11th will reopen within the next two weeks.

"We are going to get traffic moving again," Shapiro tweeted and thanked the extraordinary efforts of their union trade workers and "all hands on deck approach" for the quick completion of the cleanups and repairs. 

Since the fire, the burnt section of the highway in northeast Philadelphia has been closed in both directions to make space for construction works. 

The Pennsylvania government initially anticipated that the repair works would take months to fix the damaged section of the road. Emergency funding of $3 million was made available by the federal government to assist with rebuilding expenditures. 

After touring the destruction site, President Biden stated that more federal funding would be coming to Pennsylvania in the next few weeks. He added that the emergency workers and the construction crews were working hard to complete the project in record time. 

Kuharchik Construction, based in Exeter, Pennsylvania, is assisting with the repair of cellular communications, cables, traffic cameras, fiber optic systems, and other crucial network elements near the demolished I-95 bridge. 

Kuharchik Construction has three crews totaling 16 to 20 technicians working on the site to monitor traffic signals, CCTV systems, fiber optic breakdowns, and the placement of variable message boards to direct drivers. 

CEO Robert Bresnahan indicated that highly technological equipment must be used to fix fiber optic cables. He added, "It's a complicated puzzle, it's a real challenge, but this is what we do, and this is what the DOT relies on our expertise for."

C. Abbonizio Contractors, a Sewell, New Jersey-based firm, was contracted to demolish the damaged bridge and road, and the work was completed in four days.

The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that 7.5% of US bridges are structurally poor. 

The I-95 bridge was made of steel girders, which are not heat resistant, and even though the bridge was reported to be in good condition, the fire could have easily increased temperatures for the girders to lose their tensile strength and collapse.

Contractor News reported earlier that Pennsylvania is receiving $1.6 billion to repair over 3,000 bridges across its commonwealth. This funding was facilitated under the IIJA and Bridge Funding Program.

Category : Freeways and Highways

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