I-95 Collapse Caused by Tanker Fire Creates Traffic Hell That Could Go on for ‘Months’

Gov. Josh Shapiro warns that repairs won’t be completed anytime soon, pushing some 160,000 vehicles to state routes and side streets daily.

byJames Gilboy|
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 11: In this handout photo provided by the City of Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management, smoke rises from a collapsed section of the I-95 highway on June 11, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. According to reports, a tanker fire underneath the highway caused the road to collapse. (Photo by City of Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management via Getty Images)
via Getty Images
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A section of an Interstate 95 overpass in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania collapsed Sunday following a tanker truck fire. Several miles of highway have been closed in both directions, and they will remain closed for months while the collapse is investigated and repairs are made.

The collapse reportedly began Sunday morning around 6:20 a.m., when the driver of a tanker truck carrying 8,500 gallons of gasoline for a nearby Wawa took an exit off the I-95 northbound lanes according to CNN. The truck hit a wall while trying to turn and landed on its side, causing a massive fire that reportedly resulted in secondary explosions. (Their causes are not currently known.) The overpass under which the truck stopped and caught fire was reportedly seen by passersby to "dip" before collapsing completely.

I-95 collapse in Philadelphia, PA. Kena Betancur/AFP via Getty Images

So far, one fatality has been reported according to The New York Times, and multiple outlets write that it was the driver, Nathaniel Moody. The company that owns the truck is in contact with officials and no criminal investigation is reportedly underway.

A stretch of I-95 several miles long northeast of downtown has been closed in both directions due to fire damage that leaves the road unsuitable for traffic. I-95 normally sees 160,000 vehicles daily, which will now have to be detoured on other highways through the city, causing jams elsewhere. Trash collection and bus routes have already been disrupted, and they may continue to be until the road is repaired.

Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro says repairs could take "some number of months" as debris must be cleared, the crash investigated, surrounding infrastructure examined, and then repairs completed. The state of Pennsylvania and federal government are both expediting the process by releasing emergency aid, but both expect this stretch of Interstate 95 to remain closed for months.

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