Less than six months after a tanker truck crash and fire collapsed an Interstate-95 bridge in northeast Philadelphia, the first section of the permanent replacement bridge opened to traffic on Nov. 6. Traffic moved from the temporary roadway—which opened only 12 days after the June 11 accident—to the recently completed outer lanes ahead of schedule, according to the Pennsylvania Dept. of Transportation.
"Today serves as another example to all that Pennsylvania can do big things,” Mike Carroll, PennDOT’s secretary, said in a statement. “Thanks to the dedication of the workers and continued coordination between the Shapiro Administration, our federal partners and the City of Philadelphia, traffic continues to flow freely on I-95 and we are one step closer to restoring I-95 to its full capacity."
The entire new structure, plus reconstruction of the lower portion of the Cottman Avenue off-ramp, is expected to be completed and the northbound interchange reopened in 2024.
Travel and lane restrictions will be in place this week while night crews move and reset temporary construction barriers and repaint lane markings before shifting three lanes of northbound vehicles and three lanes of southbound onto the outer sections of the new span.
The temporary roadway will be removed once traffic is fully shifted to the new lanes. Recycled glass aggregate used in the temporary roadway will be reused in other I-95 projects, including the I-95 Cap project at Penn’s Landing.
"The Federal Highway Administration is proud to join PennDOT and our state, local and private sector partners in Pennsylvania today to celebrate this important milestone marking the completion of the first stage of permanent repairs to I-95," Shailen Bhat, Federal Highway Administrator said in the statement. "We know that the I-95 corridor is a critical connection for people and goods traveling along the East Coast, and that's why this work stands as a testament to what we can accomplish together with a whole of government approach to restore this vital link that is critical to our nation."