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The I-95 restoration: A Pennsylvania success story

June 4, 2024

Exactly one day before the beginning of the 2024 Memorial Day weekend, state and national transportation leaders held an event to announce the full restoration of I-95 in northeast Philadelphia, the site of a devastating fuel tanker accident last June.

In announcing the reopening of the eight-lane highway, PennDOT Secretary Mike Carroll, along with Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt, joined other dignitaries praising the workers and collaboration that led to the super-fast-tracked reconstruction of one of the busiest transportation arteries in the northeast United States.

The fiery crash claimed the life of the tanker driver when his rig tipped on Sunday morning, June 11, of last year and exploded beneath an overpass.

The highway was instantly deemed impassable. Secretary Carroll and Governor Shapiro immediately grasped the magnitude of the disaster, knowing that the crash would create traffic nightmares and potentially threaten commerce from Maine to Florida.

President Biden toured the accident site by helicopter and said that “there’s no more important project right now in the country as far as I’m concerned.” He pledged to reimburse Pennsylvania for 100% of the initial cost and 90% for the rest.

Then the designers, engineering team, construction companies and the Philadelphia Building Trades got busy. After initially predicting a months-long closing of the highway, the aforementioned problem-solvers said they might be able to create a temporary solution.

Twelve days later, the road was back in business. Traffic resumed, interstate traffic was shifted back to I-95, and economic consequences were eased.

Now, less than a year later, the permanent repairs are in place. For a look back on the nearly year-long restoration effort, follow this link.

 

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