Since a devastating fire collapsed a section of I-95 in Pennsylvania earlier this month, the race has been on to get the highway repaired. A unique piece of motorsport equipment has now been enlisted in the effort to help the roadway reopen as soon as possible.
As covered by CBS News, a jet dryer from Pocono Raceway is on the I-95 job site to assist with repairs. Normally, the specially-outfitted Chevrolet Silverado is tasked with drying out the race track after rain delays in NASCAR. Authorities realized it could also be put to good use drying the new road surface amidst inclement weather in Pennsylvania.
The jet dryer will allow crews to paint lane lines on the temporary roadway more quickly during the wet conditions forecast for the coming days. News helicopters tailed the jet dryer on its way to the job site as it was escorted by Pennsylvania State Troopers.
Jet dryers came to NASCAR in 1976 thanks to Roger Penske. The legendary team owner had spotted similar equipment in use by a crew working on paving a trench at Michigan International Speedway. He quickly realized the hot jet exhaust would be perfect for drying a track after rain. With a few modifications to the design, jet dryers became a common sight on NASCAR ovals around the country.
Typically, I-95 sees 160,000 vehicles daily, prompting a rush effort to reopen the vital traffic corridor. A temporary roadway will open this weekend, just two weeks after the original structure collapsed. It will have three lanes in each direction.
The temporary roadway has been built by filling in the gap for the former underpass with a special lightweight glass foam aggregate. The material was chosen as it is lighter than rock, which would risk damaging an underground sewer line passing through the area.
As per the Pennsylvania Government live stream, construction on the temporary roadway is visibly progressing well. Once established, work will then proceed to fully rebuild the permanent bridge from the outside in to restore the damaged section to its full width.
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