Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro said Saturday he was « confident » that the portion of Interstate 95 in Philadelphia that collapsed last weekend will open within the next two weeks.
« We will restore traffic, » Mr. Shapiro said Chirping, crediting an « all hands on deck approach ». Initially, he said he expected the repairs to take months.
Sunday’s crash of a truck carrying gasoline started a fire that left a section of the north side of the highway in ruins and the southbound section so badly damaged that it was demolished this week. Local officials are working with the federal government to rebuild the roadway.
Before the collapse, that stretch of highway in northeast Philadelphia near the Delaware River was used by about 160,000 vehicles a day, officials said, even though much of the interstate traffic passing through the region already bypassed Philadelphia using the New Jersey Turnpike, which runs roughly parallel to I-95 east of the river.
In an effort to ease traffic woes, officials have added extra cars to commuter trains, arranged detours and offered free parking in some mass transit lots.
On Saturday, President Biden took a helicopter tour of the collapsed section of the highway and met with construction crews and emergency workers responding to the crash. Mr. Biden said people were working to get the project done « in record time » and that I-95 was critical to the local economy and quality of life.
He added that the federal government had released $3 million in emergency funds to offset the cost of the repairs and that « much more » federal funding was coming in.
“I grew up not too far from here,” Biden said. « I know how important this stretch of highway is not just to Philadelphia, but to the entire Northeast Corridor and my home state. »
The crash happened when a truck, carrying about 8,500 liters of petrol, landed on its side, rupturing the tank and starting a fire, officials said.
A body was found in the rubble and authorities identified the victim on Tuesday as the truck driver, Nathan Moody, 53.
Amanda Holpuch, CampbellRobertson and Jon Hurdle contributed reporting.