The collapsed section of I-95 in Philadelphia (City of Philadelphia photo).
A stretch of Interstate 95 in Northeast Philadelphia was shuttered on Sunday in the wake of a truck fire that caused a section of the highway to collapse, multiple news outlets reported.
A stretch of the highway was closed between Woodhaven Road and Aramingo Avenue, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported, citing state transportation alerts. The heat of the fire caused the interstate’s northbound lane at Cottman Avenue and State Road to collapse, the newspaper reported.
The highway “will be impacted for a long time, for a long time,” Philadelphia Managing Director Tumar Alexander said on Sunday morning, according to the Inquirer, as officials warned motorists to stay away from the site.
In a Twitter thread, U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle, D-2nd District, said he’d “reached out to President [Joe] Biden and to Transportation Sec. [Pete] Buttigieg to ensure that all available federal resource be deployed quickly to repair the damaged section of I-95 in my district that collapsed early this morning.
“I have also reached out to Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney to let him know that my office is available to help with any federal support as the repair process plays out in the weeks and months ahead,” Boyle continued, adding that the highway is, “is a vital transportation artery, and a major link of our regional economy.
“It plays a lead role in the lives of nearly everyone in Philadelphia and its collar counties—directly and indirectly. I will continue to do everything within the scope of my office to ensure that Philadelphia is given every resource we need to repair this asset and get things back to normal,” Boyle said.
In a brief tweet, shared by U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans, D-3rd District, Kenney noted that “the City and partners are currently responding to a partial highway collapse of a section of I-95. We’ll continue to provide updates to residents, including information about detours and travel alternatives.
In a statement, the city’s state House delegation said it was monitoring the situation, expressing relief that there apparently had been no injuries in the collapse.
House Transportation Committee Chairperson Ed Neilson said he was “intricately involved” with the response to the accident.
On Sunday afternoon, the Philadelphia Democrat said he was “on site with city, state and federal officials. We’re assessing the situation and working with [the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency] and the Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management. We will provide critical updates as soon as we have more details, but for now please stay away from the area.”
Rep. Pat Gallagher, D-Philadelphia, whose district includes the crash site, said he was glad that there were no injuries, but “there are still many questions about the accident and removing the rubble.
“We know it’s a long road ahead to likely rebuild both sides of this bridge, so I ask our residents and neighbors to be patient as we navigate alternate commuting routes and altered daily life around this emergency.” Gallagher said.
Some 160,000 people use the highway every day, WHYY-FM reported, citing state Department of Transportation data.
Gov. Josh Shapiro visited the accident site on Sunday. The Democratic governor said he planned to issue a disaster declaration on Monday, a move that would allow the state to receive federal aid, the Inquirer reported.
“Remarkable devastation,” Shapiro said, according to the Inquirer, as he described his view of the scene from a helicopter. “I found myself thanking the Lord that no motorists who were on I-95 were injured or died.”
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