A portion of the I-95 in Philadelphia collapsed on Sunday, leaving at least one vehicle trapped under the debris. Officials have warned that the reconstruction of the destroyed I-95 overpass will take several months.
Fortunately, there have been no reports of injuries or fatalities resulting from the tanker explosion that caused the collapse of the crucial interstate highway. However, authorities caution that the situation is still uncertain.
Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro provided an update at the scene, stating, “We have identified at least one vehicle that remains trapped beneath the collapsed roadway. Our priority is to locate any individuals who may have been caught in the fire and collapse.”
The incident occurred at 6:20 a.m. on Sunday when a tractor-trailer carrying a petroleum-based product on the I-95 exploded, causing the overpass to crumble. while the southbound lanes remain unstable, the northbound lanes of the highway completely collapsed.
Governor Shapiro stated that “The complete reconstruction of the I-95 roadway will likely take several months. Once the engineers in PennDOT have finished their assessment, we will establish a specific timeline. To expedite the process and bypass bureaucratic hurdles, I intend to issue a disaster declaration tomorrow morning, enabling the immediate release of federal funds to facilitate the repair and reconstruction of this vital road.”
Shapiro also mentioned his direct conversation with U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg regarding the calamity. He stated, “Secretary Buttigieg has assured me that there will be no delay in deploying federal funds to assist us in swiftly rebuilding this critical artery.”
Meanwhile, state transportation officials are working diligently to establish alternate routes and public transportation options to help commuters navigate around the damaged section of the roadway.
Pennsylvania Transportation Secretary Mike Carroll confirmed that a contractor was swiftly hired, and their equipment arrived at the scene within hours of the explosion to begin debris removal and repair efforts.
“We will continue our work around the clock over the next 24 hours to expedite the removal of the collapsed section and initiate the repair and replacement process,” Carroll assured reporters.
He acknowledged the challenges this incident poses to traffic movement in the city but expressed confidence in collaboration with the Philadelphia Police Department and other partners to overcome these obstacles. Carroll finalised by saying, “Our goal is to respond promptly and effectively to address these challenges. Together, we will overcome this situation.”