Philly scrambles to address bridge collapse

June 23, 2023

The tragic destruction of an I-95 bridge in a fiery crash in northeast Philadelphia early Sunday morning attracted national attention, due to the importance of I-95 as a major transportation link serving the entire U.S. Eastern Seaboard. Rebuilding will take months and include a temporary road on which traffic will flow while the permanent bridgework is completed.

The bridge was destroyed when a gasoline tanker-truck went out of control on a curve along the Cottman Avenue off-ramp. The truck fell on its side beneath the I-95 overpass, igniting the gasoline. The truck’s driver was killed in the crash.

The bridge handles an average of 160,000 vehicles per day in each direction. Because I-95 is a major freight corridor, officials are warning of potential supply-chain problems, at least until the temporary road is open for traffic. The temporary road will have three lanes in each direction, and Philadelphia-based Buckley & Co. has been hired as the contractor.

The temporary road may be opened for traffic as early as this weekend.

Governor Shapiro secured federal disaster funds the day after the crash, which will expedite the project. He said reconstruction work would proceed around the clock, seven days a week, until the project is complete. PennDOT is live-streaming the demolition and construction on its website, at this link.

Also stepping up to assist was SEPTA, which is increasing rider capacity and service on several routes. For more information about that, follow this link.


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