I-95 collapse

Watch: Gov. Shapiro speaks at site of I-95 collapse

Officials have said the gap will be filled by the end of Tuesday with a recycled glass aggregate, which is made by the Delaware County-based company AeroAggregates of North America. 

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UPDATE: Governor Shapiro announced Tuesday that I-95 will reopen to traffic this weekend. New details HERE.

What to Know

More than a week after a deadly crash and fire led to the collapse of an elevated portion of I-95, temporary lanes of the highway will be completely refilled by a recycled glass aggregate by Tuesday at the latest, officials said. 

Over the weekend, crews continued rebuilding outer sections of the permanent bridge on I-95 in Northeast Philadelphia. They also continued filling in the roadway in the area of the collapse with a specially designed, Pennsylvania-made recycled glass aggregate. Officials said that portion should be completely filled by Tuesday at the latest.

Mixed with paper and plastic, bits of glass are the basis of the recycled glass aggregate, which is made by the Delaware County-based company AeroAggregates of North America. 

“We have a cleaning system that takes the paper and plastic off the glass, then we mill it into a very fine powder,” AeroAggregates CEO Archie Filshill, PH.D., told NBC10. “And it goes to a heating process that bakes it into a cake.” 

Once complete, eight inches of modified sub-base, edge and a median barrier will be installed while the transition between the new roadway and existing lanes will be prepped, officials said. Paving operations will then begin soon after that. 

On Saturday, Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro along with PEMA Director Randy Padfield, Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Chris Paris and Secretary of Transportation Mike Carroll briefed President Joe Biden on the initial response, the reconstruction plan and the coordination between all levels of government. During the briefing, Governor Shapiro announced the damaged portion of I-95 would reopen within the next two weeks. 

“I was out on site this morning,” Filshill said. “They’re doing an amazing job of getting both of these walls up, maybe faster than I’ve ever seen. Because the material’s not affected by weather, it goes in much faster than traditional material. So you can have accelerated construction.” 

Once the permanent lanes of I-95 are rebuilt, which currently doesn’t have a timeline, the glass aggregate filling the temporary lanes can be recycled. 

“They’ll be able to deconstruct this and the material will still be ultra lightweight so they’ll be able to use that on other projects in the region,” Filshill said. 

You can view a livestream of the I-95 reconstruction here.

Federal funds available for reconstruction

The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration announced last week the immediate availability of $3 million in emergency relief funds to help PennDOT offset rebuilding costs for emergency operations, detour routes as well as preliminary engineering, surveys and design for the permanent restoration of I-95.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and other officials visited the collapse site to assess the damage. Gov. Shapiro said he will continue to remain in contact with Secretary Buttigieg and President Biden to ensure Pennsylvania has access to all federal resources as the rebuild continues.

So what will it cost?

Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt told NBC10's Lauren Mayk that the preliminary cost estimate for the emergency repairs appeared to be in the $25 million to $30 million range. Federal emergency relief funds would help cover those costs.

Rendering of I-95 temporary reopening

PennDOT shared a rendering of what the temporary I-95 roadway reopening will look like while the bridge is being replaced. You can view the rendering here.

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