Vehicles crossed the newly reconstructed Interstate 95 bridge in Philadelphia Friday for the first time since the bridge collapsed in a deadly accident.
Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro (D), Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and other state officials spoke at a morning news conference hours before the bridge reopened at noon — just 12 days after the collapse.
Shapiro had promised the collapsed part of I-95 would be reopened within 2 weeks, a promise he kept.
“They said it couldn’t be done,” Shapiro said.
“When I stood here 12 days ago, I must say there was a pessimism in the air — one that I believe has lingered in this city and in this commonwealth for far too long. And today, all of us here together proved them wrong.”
Officials reopened six temporary lanes of traffic on I-95 after a deadly tanker truck fire caused an overpass to collapse on June 11.
Truck driver Nathan Moody, 53, was killed in the accident.
Shapiro’s administration worked closely with state, local and federal authorities to clear away debris and rebuild the roadway.
President Biden toured the site of the collapse last weekend and pronounced reconstruction of I-95 the top infrastructure priority of his administration.
“There’s no more important project in the country right now as far as I’m concerned,” Biden said on Saturday.
Everything you need to know about the Philadelphia I-95 overpass collapse
A heavily traveled section of I-95 collapsed in Philadelphia on Sunday after a tanker truck burst into flames underneath it, police said.
The collapse occurred after a tanker truck carrying 8,500 gallons of gas to a local Wawa failed to make a turn and flipped on its side, triggering a massive fire, officials said Monday.
The highway catastrophe led to all lanes of the interstate being shut down between the exits of Woodhaven Road in northeast Philadelphia and Aramingo Avenue in the Port Richmond neighborhood.
Philadelphia Fire Department Captain Derrick Bowmer said the burning truck also led to explosions underground, with flames coming out of manholes that were blown off.
Human remains were recovered from the rubble on Monday, and officials have yet to announce the identity of the victim.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the Pennsylvania State Police, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, the Biden Administration, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the City of Philadelphia and union contractors worked in conjunction to reopen the interstate.
“The building trades folks are the real heroes here – they constructed this in a skillful and speedy way, and I am eternally grateful for their dedication,” said Pennsylvania Transportation Secretary Mike Carroll.
“PennDOT and our team and the Buckley team will continue our efforts to construct the facility on either side of this structure in an effort to restore I-95 to its full capacity.”
A permanent bridge over Cottman Ave is now under construction where the temporary roadway was installed.
“Thanks to the grit and determination of operating engineers, laborers, cement finishers, carpenters, teamsters, and so many other proud union workers doing shifts around the clock, I-95 is reopening. And it’s ahead of schedule,” Biden said Friday.
“This emergency repair is 100% federally funded and all approvals were given as quick as possible. We also deployed officials from the U.S. Department of Transportation to the crash site within hours – to help fast-track the effort. We are proving that when we work together, there is nothing we cannot do.”
The Philadelphia Flyers, Eagles, Phillies, 76ers and union organizations made a collective $50,000 donation to build a trust fund for the daughter of Nathan Moody.
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