Officials say there is no clear timeline on when I-95 could be rebuilt

A timeline on when I-95 could reopen in Philadelphia is pending design plans to rebuild the section destroyed by the collapse. Demolition of the southbound lanes is underway.

Portion of I-95 that collapsed

Aftermath of an elevated section of Interstate 95 that collapsed, in Philadelphia, Monday, June 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Federal and state officials said Monday that a damaged section of I-95 will be rebuilt as soon as possible, but an exact timetable is yet to be determined.

Officials said a structural analysis found the south side of the highway is also unable to handle traffic and will have to be demolished.

“The bridge is compromised and needs to be removed,” Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Secretary Mike Carroll said. “We are currently designing a solution set, and the parameters of that solution set remain undefined until we know what it’s going to be.”

Once a design is completed, a timetable for replacement can be given, Carroll said.

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The roadway was fried beyond use Sunday after a tanker truck carrying a petroleum-based substance caught fire after crashing beneath an overpass below the northbound lanes.

“All we know is that the vehicle was traveling I-95 northbound, exited at the common Cabin Avenue Off Ramp and was negotiating the right of the left-hand curve when the crash occurred,” said Captain Gerald McShea with Pennsylvania State Police when asked about the circumstances surrounding the fire.

6abc has identified the driver as Nathaniel Moody, a veteran driver for a firm in Pennsauken New Jersey. However, officials have declined to name the driver of the company they worked for.

Members of the local congressional delegation toured the burned-out section of I-95 Monday, vowing work will move as quickly as possible.

Congressman Brendan Boyle said he understands the importance of I-95 to the region — saying he’s made sure Washington is 100% behind reconstruction, not only for Philadelphia, but the interconnection it makes to the entire northeast.

“I dare you to find a more densely populated 40 or 50-mile area around [interstate] 95 than right here where we’re standing,” he said. “People are going to be impacted from New York City — to well south of here. Getting this reconstructed as quickly and safely as possible is my highest priority.”

Pa. Senator Bob Casey said all parts of the government are working together on this project.

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“I’m grateful that every level of government is working together to make sure that we utilize every possible resource.” Pa. senior Senator Bob Casey said. “I know that I, and Senator John Fetterman, and our entire congressional delegation will be focused on getting those dollars that are going to be needed to make sure that I-95 is rebuilt as part of its rebuild so we can get traffic going again.”

While crews demolish the south side of the span, engineers will be working on how to graft in a replacement to the roadway, which was upgraded roughly 13 years ago.

I-95 through the city has undergone major work in recent years, including widening approaching Center City and improvements at the Aramingo Avenue off-ramp, which is now one of the exit points of the interstate near the destruction.

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