Temporary lanes of I-95 to reopen this weekend, Gov. Shapiro says

Damaged section of I-95 will reopen this weekend to six lanes of traffic, after Gov. Shapiro announced an accelerated timeline.

Josh Shapiro speaking with construction workers

Governor Josh Shapiro chatted with construction workers near Interstate 95 ahead of a press conference on June 20, 2023. (Cory Sharber/WHYY)

Temporary lanes on Interstate 95 will reopen this weekend, Gov. Josh Shapiro announced Tuesday, just days after a collapse left the major infrastructure hub impassable.

The construction was used as a backdrop for Shapiro’s news conference announcing the accelerated timeline. He said rebuilding efforts on the east side were on track to be complete that evening, and work to the west side of the roadway would begin Wednesday.

“We have worked around the clock to get this done, and we’ve completed each phase safely and ahead of schedule,” Shapiro said. “That’s all due to the incredible coordination with our local, state, and federal partners — and thanks to the hard-working men and women of the Philadelphia Building Trades who are making this happen.”

Josh Shapiro speaking at a microphone.
Governor Josh Shapiro announced Interstate 95 will be opening this weekend during a press conference near the construction site on June 20, 2023. (Cory Sharber/WHYY)
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Shapiro said Pennsylvania State Police would continue escorting trucks carrying pavers up I-95 as crews work around the clock to meet the weekend opening.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is using recycled glass aggregate to fill the damaged section. Transportation Secretary Mike Carroll said this method has been used many times in the past, including underneath various sections of I-95.

“That glass aggregate is used in Maine, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Virginia, and as far away as Arizona. Those states, like Pennsylvania, recognize the quality of the product and its uses in certain applications like this.” Carroll said.  “I have 100% confidence in its ability to withstand the traffic that’s on that facility once we open it.”

Mike Carroll speaking at a podium.
PennDOT Secretary Mike Carroll the glass aggregate used to fill in the gap between the two sections of the highway has been used for the past seven to eight years in several states including New Jersey. (Cory Sharber/WHYY)
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Last week, the Governor’s office set up a 24/7 livestream of rebuild operations. The stream has since gained popularity on social media and is something Shapiro himself admitted he’s “completely addicted to it.”

“Like a synchronized swim match … they pull up the dump truck, they load the rebar in, and they take it away,” he said. “These guys know what they’re doing. It is amazing for the public to see. I’ve loved watching it!”

Construction work happening to repair the road
I-95 will be open this weekend ahead of the originally protected two-week timeline. (Cory Sharber/WHYY)

The overall cost of the project is estimated to be between $25 and $30 million. U.S. Senators Bob Casey and John Fetterman, along with U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle, have announced  $3 million in federal emergency funding directed to PennDOT to assist with repairs.

A day after the collapse, Shapiro signed a Proclamation of Disaster Emergency, freeing up $7 million in state funds to be used for reconstruction.

An average of 160,000 vehicles use the damaged section of highway daily, according to PennDOT.

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