State and federal officials warned that the Interstate 95 collapse that happened over the weekend due to a tanker truck carrying 8,500 gallons of gasoline catching fire after a crash may cause supply-chain troubles across the East Coast.
Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg toured the site on Tuesday and said that the collapse that has shut down traffic since Sunday morning is having “an outsized impact on commuters and on goods movement up and down the I-95 corridor.”
“Part of what goes into the cost of everything that we pay for in the store is the cost of shipping, and if a route is disrupted or if it’s longer, or if trucks have to wait, that finds its way into the cost of goods,” Buttigieg said. “There’s no substitute for I-95 being up and running in full working condition.”
The collapsed portion of I-95 saw an average of 160,000 vehicles a day, and officials estimate that 8% were tractor trailers.
Investigators and other officials have declined to comment on is speed was a factor in Sunday's crash. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) intends to publish an initial report in about two or three weeks.
“This was an enormously intense fire underneath a structure that, to my understanding, is relatively new in its construction,” Buttigieg said of the bridge, which officials have estimated was updated 10 to 12 years ago. “Beyond that commonsense level, that we know what happened underneath this section of highway, I don’t want to get ahead of the work that NTSB is doing.”
No officials have offered a cost estimate for cleaning up the site of the collapse and replacing the gap in the expressway, which serves as the main artery between New York City and Washington. Buttigieg said the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) will be eligible to receive federal funds both to cover up-front costs associated with construction and for reimbursement after the replacement project is completed.
Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer