I-95 reopens to traffic with temporary lanes 12 days after collapse, tanker fire

Six temporary lanes will carry traffic on Interstate 95 through the city's Tacony section.

Cars driving on I-95

I-95 has reopened to traffic. (6abc)

This story originally appeared on 6abc.

Traffic has started flowing again on the portion of Interstate 95 in Philadelphia that collapsed just under two weeks ago.

Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro, Secretary of Transportation Mike Carroll, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, and other officials spoke during a morning news conference just hours before the reopening, which officially occurred a few minutes after noon Friday.

Six temporary lanes are carrying traffic through the city’s Tacony section.

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The lanes were built much faster than officials originally predicted. In the days after the collapse, officials believed the construction would take months.

“Let this serve as an example of how Pennsylvania can do big things. And when we come together, when we’re determined, we can get stuff done,” Shapiro said at a Friday morning news conference.

Before the road reopened to all drivers, Engine 38 of the Philadelphia Fire Department – who were the first ones on the scene of the fatal tanker fire and collapse – drove across the temporary lanes. Philadelphia sports mascots including Gritty and the Phillie Phanatic were on board one of the fire engines.

Crews have been working around the clock since the portion of the interstate collapsed on June 11.

President Joe Biden joined Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro on a helicopter tour of the site a little more than a week after the collapse and praised the design as “incredibly innovative in order to get this work done in record time.’’

With rain threatening to delay the reopening, a truck-mounted jet dryer normally used to keep moisture off the track at Pocono Raceway was brought in to keep the fresh asphalt dry enough for lines to be painted.

The 24-hour construction work was live-streamed, drawing thousands of viewers online.

The Philadelphia disaster echoed a similar situation in Atlanta, where an elevated portion of Interstate 85 collapsed in a fire, shutting down the heavily traveled route through the heart of the city in March 2017. It took authorities there 43 days to replace it.

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In Oakland, California, a collapsed highway ramp was replaced in 26 days.

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