Philadelphia highway collapse could impact major interstate 'for a long time'
Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro said he would declare an emergency on Monday so the state could access federal money for repairs, which could take months.
A tanker truck fire caused a raised portion of Interstate 95 (I-95) to collapse in northeastern Philadelphia Sunday, indefinitely blocking one of the nation's busiest highways and threatening the Delaware River with an oil spill.
The fire and collapse was triggered by a crash under the northbound ramp around 6:15 am ET, The Associated Press reported. The fire then caused the northbound lanes above it to collapse and "compromised" the southbound ones, Derek Bowmer, battalion chief of the Philadelphia Fire Department, said. There have been no injuries reported at this time.
"I-95 will be impacted for a long time, for a long time," Philadelphia managing director Tumar Alexander said Sunday morning, as ThePhiladelphia Inquirer reported.
\u201cHere\u2019s what the collapsed section of I-95 looks like from above:\u201d— Aubrey Whelan (@Aubrey Whelan) 1686513049
I-95 is the main East Coast artery connecting Florida to Maine, The Washington Post explained. Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro said he would declare an emergency on Monday so the state could access federal money for repairs, according to the Inquirer.
"With regards to the complete rebuild of the I-95 roadway, we expect that to take some number of months," Shapiro said Sunday.
Shapiro added that the length of repairs would depend on the results of a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Pennsylvania State Police investigation into the cause of the crash.
"I found myself thanking the Lord that no motorists who were on I-95 were injured or died," Shapiro said Sunday, according to AP.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney promised to keep residents updated about detours and alternative routes.
\u201cSoooo here\u2019s a couple driving over the I-95 overpass about 10 minutes before it collapsed with their windows down\u201d— stefanielaine (@stefanielaine) 1686501348
The federal government has already pledged support to Philadelphia and Pennsylvania.
"The President has been briefed on the collapse and White House officials have been in contact with Governor Shapiro and Mayor Kenney's offices to offer assistance," White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre tweeted.
"This is a major artery for people and goods, and the closure will have significant impacts on the city and region until reconstruction and recovery are complete."
"This is a major artery for people and goods, and the closure will have significant impacts on the city and region until reconstruction and recovery are complete," he tweeted. "Our department will be there with support throughout the process of I-95 returning to normal."
The truck that caught fire had a capacity for 8,500 gallons of gasoline, the U.S. Coast Guard said, as The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. While it's not clear how much gasoline the truck was carrying, it was not empty.
The highway follows the Delaware River, and some of the gasoline drained into the waterway, The Washington Post reported.
"It hasn't made its way to the water that much," Ensign Josh Ledoux, a spokesperson for the Delaware Bay sector of the Coast Guard, told the Post.
The spilled oil has left a slight sheen on the river, the Inquirer reported, which authorities are attempting to contain with floating booms.
Otherwise, air and water quality have not been impacted by the crash, city agencies said.
\u201cthe philly i-95 bridge collapse happened right next to four seasons total landscaping\u201d— Justin Sink (@Justin Sink) 1686496053
Democratic strategist Larry Huynh pointed to the collapse as an example of why federal infrastructure funding is so important.
"People from every political perspective in America use I-95 in Philadelphia," he tweeted. "But only one party will defend it. What does a Republican do when they see roads like this? They steal our tax dollars, and give it to billionaires. Then they DEMAND spending cuts."
He noted that most Republicans opposed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed in 2021.
"Getting Republicans out is essential for our roads. For our country. For our lives," he said.
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