Officials said repairs on Interstate 95 are expected to take “many months” after an elevated section of Philadelphia highway collapsed Sunday morning when a tank truck carrying flammable cargo caught fire. on fire.
“For the complete rebuilding of I-95, we expect it to take several months,” Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro said at a news conference Sunday night, adding that he expected plan to issue a disaster declaration to “expedit the process” and “immediately dip into federal funds.”
Shapiro said he spoke directly with Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who assured him there would be “absolutely no delay” in securing federal funds to rebuild “an important road” important” quickly and safely.
In the meantime, officials are exploring “interim solutions to connect both sides of I-95 to bring traffic through the area,” according to Shapiro. All lanes between the exits of Woodhaven Road in Philadelphia and Aramingo Avenue are closed indefinitely in both directions, local ABC station WPVI reported.
The north side of the affected stretch of road “has completely collapsed”, Shapiro said, while the southbound lanes “haven’t been properly structured to carry traffic”. According to the governor, a vehicle is still trapped under the collapsed road.
“We are still working to identify any individuals or individuals who may have been caught up in the fire and collapsed,” he said, later clarifying that there was no one on I-95 at the time. injured or killed in the incident.
I-95 is one of the busiest travel corridors in the United States and serves as the main north-south highway on the East Coast. On average, more than 160,000 vehicles pass through the affected Philadelphia area each day, according to a spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said President Joe Biden has been notified of the collapse and his administration is in contact with Shapiro and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney. Interstate Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt will travel to Philadelphia on Monday to provide federal assistance and assistance.
A team of experts from the National Transportation Safety Board, in collaboration with the Pennsylvania State Police, will also be on site Monday to begin the on-site safety investigation into the incident. A preliminary report will be available in two to three weeks, according to the NTSB.