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I-95 repair: Temporary roadway to open for traffic this weekend, Gov. Shapiro says

I-95 set to reopen with temporary roadway this weekend, Shapiro says
I-95 set to reopen with temporary roadway this weekend, Shapiro says 02:23

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro said Tuesday I-95 in Philadelphia will reopen this weekend with a temporary roadway – two weeks after the fire and collapse in the northbound lanes near Cottman Avenue.

The temporary highway will allow six lanes of traffic back on I-95.

Shapiro says crews have finished backfilling the underpass and are now setting beams. Pavers will be brought in later this week – and then the first car will go over the highway this weekend.

Crews have been working around the clock after an overpass of the highway collapsed in Philadelphia early on the morning of June 11, 2023.

Shapiro gave a ton of credit to the workers who have been here around the clock – making sure they can get the highway open as quickly as possible.  

"Everyone has worked around the clock to get this done and we have completed each phase of this project safely and way ahead of schedule," Shapiro said. "We're showing the rest of the country that Philly and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania -- we're tough. We're showing them what we're all about. We're showing them our grit and our resilience. This is a can-do town and I'm a governor who believes we can get big things done again. We are going to make sure that we change that attitude of people being surprised to folks expecting excellence from us."

Collapsed I-95 will be re-open this weekend says Gov. Shapiro 20:26

Detours around the collapse had serious impacts on shipping and trucking as well as commuters and the neighborhood businesses.

Shapiro and Mayor Jim Kenney said the city is working on plans to possibly help owners financially. Shapiro said the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency is also calculating the loss and some businesses may qualify for state help. 

The high-speed work has led some to question the safety of the temporary highway. PennDOT secretary Mike Carroll sought to tamp down any concerns.

"I have 100% confidence in its ability to withstand the traffic that's on that facility once we open it, and I know that like these other states, it'll work just fine in Pennsylvania," Carroll said.  

Shapiro said early estimates of the rebuild will be somewhere between $25 and $30 million. He said the federal government will cover the cost under the disaster declaration that was issued. 

"The bottom line is the federal government, the President [Joe Biden], Administrator [Shailen] Bhatt, Secretary [Pete] Buttigieg have made clear they would cover the full cost," Shapiro said. 

After demolishing the remaining lanes following the collapse, workers began filling the gap from the ground up with a bed of lightweight but sturdy, rock-like material made from recycled bottles and jars from Aero Aggregates, a company-based in Delaware County.

Residents across the Delaware Valley can watch crews rebuild I-95 in real-time with a 24/7 livestream. 

The crash and fire that caused the collapse left tanker driver, Nathan Moody, dead. The Philadelphia Medical Examiner's Office ruled Moody's death an accident and said he died due to blunt trauma of the head, inhalation and thermal injuries. He was a father of three. 

The National Transport Safety Board is investigating the incident. 

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