I-95 collapse

I-95 to reopen to traffic on Friday, PennDOT says

PennDOT confirmed with NBC10 on Thursday that the lanes would reopen on Friday. A spokesperson with Governor Shapiro's office said the reopening will be at 12 p.m.

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What to Know

What originally was feared to take months has instead taken just 12 days.

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Less than two weeks after a deadly tanker truck crash and fire caused an elevated portion of I-95 to collapse in Northeast Philadelphia, temporary lanes of the highway will reopen to traffic on Friday, officials announced.

"Thanks to the crews that have worked around the clock to repair I-95, six lanes of traffic will reopen to motorists at 12:00 PM ET tomorrow," a spokesperson for Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro wrote on Thursday.

Shapiro, along with Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Secretary Mike Carroll, will attend the reopening on Friday.

Crews were hard at work on I-95 on Thursday, just about two weeks after the collapse on June 11.

The live feed supplied by PennDOT showed what appeared to be black asphalt laid down on top of the filled-in hole Thursday morning.

A worker at the site confirmed to NBC10 that two layers of asphalt had been put down and that one more layer was needed before three lanes of road in each direction of I-95 would be ready to reopen.

By early Thursday afternoon, it appeared that another layer of asphalt was being laid down as crews worked amid some dry conditions with the threat of more rain in the days ahead.

The around-the-clock work to get traffic moving again on I-95 has been livestreamed as crews filled the collapse site with a temporary fill. Gov. Shapiro on Tuesday announced the road would be ready about two weeks after the collapse.

“Traffic will be flowing here on I-95 this weekend,” Shapiro said.

The repaving progress seemed to be in line with Shapiro's claim though the new announcement for Friday's reopening is even earlier than Shapiro's initial weekend timeline.

Governor Josh Shapiro announced Tuesday the section of I-95 that collapsed following a deadly truck crash and fire earlier this month will reopen to traffic this weekend. He talked about the new timeline in an exclusive interview with NBC10's Rosemary Connors.

On Wednesday, PennDOT said that besides the paving, "crews are doing concrete work to reinforce areas of the existing roadway prior to paving and placing the center barrier."

Travel restrictions ahead of reopening

Travel restrictions were put in place on I-95 Thursday evening ahead of Friday's scheduled reopening:

  • Princeton Avenue ramp to I-95 North closed until Friday. Motorists directed to use Milnor Street to access I-95 North.
  • I-95 South reduced from four lanes to one lane just past the Academy Road Interchange.
  • The ramp from Academy Road to I-95 South is closed. Detour will be posted.
  • The ramp from Linden Avenue to I-95 South is closed. Detour will be posted.
  • Southbound State Road reduced to a single lane between Princeton Avenue and Longshore Avenue.

Racing against weather to get I-95 ready

Rain in the forecast in the days ahead added an element of uncertainty, however, the race is on to keep things dry.

The closing steps to the rebuild were aided by NASCAR's Pocono Raceway. The race track tweeted that it was sending its jet dryer to the I-95 construction site to be on standby if needed for line painting.

Shapiro explained the need for the device: "To rebuild I-95 on time, we need 12 hours of dry weather to complete the paving and striping process." The first-term Democrat said the jet dryer helps to "keep us on schedule."

The air dryer could be seen next to a sports car on the livestream early Thursday afternoon.

Pennsylvania’s plan for a quick interim fix involved trucking in 2,000 tons of lightweight recycled glass nuggets to fill in the collapsed area, avoiding supply-chain delays for other materials, officials said. After that, a replacement bridge will be built next to it to reroute traffic while crews excavate the fill to restore the exit ramp, officials said.

Less than 2 weeks of detours

In the aftermath of I-95 being closed in both the northbound and southbound directions, drivers have dealt with detours and delays while dignitaries, including President Joe Biden, have visited the site and pledged for funding to fix the road.

NBC10's Matt DeLucia hops in the passenger seat with a AAA tow truck driver to see what it's like to maneuver a larger vehicle along Northeast Philadelphia side streets amid the closure of Interstate 95.

“We have worked around the clock to get this done, and we’ve completed each phase safely and ahead of schedule. That’s all due to the incredible coordination with our local, state, and federal partners – and thanks to the hard-working men and women of the Philadelphia Building Trades who are making this happen," Shapiro said Tuesday.

Nathaniel Moody died in the June 11 crash after his tanker truck crashed and caught fire under the I-95 overpass.

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