On Sunday, June 11, a section of Interstate 95 in Philadelphia collapsed after a tanker truck caught fire underneath the highway. According to Pennsylvania officials, I-95 could take months to repair.
Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro said at a news conference Sunday afternoon that the collapse happened around 6:20 a.m. The tanker was carrying 8,500 gallons of gasoline when it caught fire. Authorities are working to identify anyone caught in the fire or the collapse. Officials have not reported any injuries or fatalities from the collapse. The truck was still caught under the highway on Sunday.
Gov. Shapiro is expected to make an emergency declaration on Monday, June 12. This would allow the state to dip into federal funds and expedite repairs on the roadway that Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Secretary Mike Carroll said was “likely the busiest interstate in our commonwealth,” carrying roughly 160,000 vehicles a day through the city.
A team from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will be at the site of the collapse to conduct a safety investigation. “The investigators are specialists in motor carrier and hazardous materials safety, highway and technical reconstruction and emergency response,” NTSB spokesperson Sarah Taylor Sulick told CNN.
Northbound lanes collapsed, and due to the intensity of the flames, southbound lanes were damaged. Shapiro said they were "not structurally sound to carry any traffic." Shapiro's office is looking into “alternatives to connect the roadway beyond detours.”
All lanes of I-95 are closed between the Woodhaven and Aramingo exits, the city of Philadelphia said. Some surrounding streets are also closed for the emergency response.
Leslie Richards, general manager of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), said the agency is adding extra capacity and service to other transportation routes and evaluating all options in assisting travelers work around the highway collapse including.
“In order to accommodate travel through the city and region following the I-95 collapse, SEPTA will provide added capacity and Service. on the Trenton, West Trenton and Fox Chase Lines,” SEPTA said in a statement.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Sunday that the Department of Transportation will offer whatever assistance is possible with repairs and reconstruction.
“Secretary Buttigieg has assured me that there will be absolutely no delay in getting federal funds deployed to quickly help us rebuild this critical artery. I-95, of course, is a critical roadway that supports our economy and plays an important role in folks everyday lives,” Shapiro said.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
By Sunday afternoon, the fire had been controlled, however, firefighters remained at the scene as a precaution “because of the large volume of product that was involved,” Philadelphia Fire Department Deputy Commissioner Jeffrey Thompson said.
Crews worked through the night to clear the collapsed section of the road.
Source: CNN, MSN, PennDOT, CBS