I-95 Lanes Collapse in Philadelphia, Causing Travel Delays That Will Last Months: ‘Complete Devastation’

“I found myself thanking the Lord that no motorists who were on I-95 were injured or died,” said the Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro

<p>City of Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management via Getty Images</p>  I-95 collapsed

City of Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management via Getty Images

I-95 collapsed

A section of Interstate 95 lanes collapsed in Philadelphia after a truck carrying a “petroleum-based product” caught fire under the highway, according to state officials.

On Sunday around 6:20 am, a vehicle fire underneath the northbound lanes of I-95 caused a section of the roadway to collapse, and heavily damaged the southbound structure. The interstate is now closed in both directions.

At a press conference Sunday evening, Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro said one vehicle is still trapped underneath but no injuries or fatalities have been reported.

Shapiro, 49, said he’d toured the accident from above and saw “just complete devastation.”

“This incident will cause significant disruption, not only to residents and businesses in the area, but also to commerce and travelers along the East Coast,” Pennsylvania PA Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) Director Randy Padfield said in a statement.

“We will work closely with our federal, state and Philadelphia partners to provide the necessary support and resources to make repairs as quickly as possible,” Padfield added.

Shapiro addressed the plans to rebuild the I-95 roadway: “We expect that to take several number of months. We will have that specific timeline set forth once the engineers and PennDOT have completed their review.”

And while the rebuild will take many months, Shapiro said the state will be receiving federal assistance.

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“To expedite this process and to cut through the red tape, tomorrow morning I plan to issue a disaster declaration, allowing the Commonwealth to immediately draw down federal funds and move quickly to repair and reconstruct this roadway,” he said on Sunday evening.

“I’ve spoken directly to Secretary Pete Buttigeig of the United States Department of Transportation, along with Senator Casey, Congressman Boyle and other federal officials,” Shapiro continued.

The governor added that US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg has “assured” him of “absolutely no delay in getting federal funds deployed to quickly help us rebuild this critical artery.”

“I-95 of course is a critical roadway. It supports our economy and plays an important role in our everyday lives,” Shapiro said. “I found myself thanking the Lord that no motorists who were on I-95 were injured or died.”

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