Demolition and cleanup continue this week following the partial collapse of I-95 from a Sunday morning vehicle accident and fire.
City, state and federal agencies, along with SEPTA, are working to make the road closure as painless as possible for motorists, businesses and delivery services. Motorists, obviously, should expect delays along detours, especially on weekdays.
Closed are the Castor Avenue on-ramp to I-95 northbound; the Aramingo Avenue on-ramp to I-95; the Betsy Ross Bridge off-ramp to I-95 northbound; the I-95 on-ramp at Bridge Street; and Tacony Palmyra Bridge traffic onto Tacony Street.
Southbound I-95 traffic will exit at Cottman Avenue; at the end of the ramp, turn right on Bleigh Avenue; make a left onto State Road; and travel to Longshore Avenue to re-enter I-95.
Northbound I-95 traffic will exit at Aramingo Avenue and make a left at the end of the ramp; follow to Tacony Street and turn right; go around the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge loop to New State Road; and travel to Milnor Street to re-enter I-95 northbound.
While roads are closed, local businesses and deliveries will be provided access. If business owners have any questions or issues, they can contact the city Office of Business Services at 215-683-2100 or email@example.com.
For ongoing updates, go to pa.gov/i95updates.
Meanwhile, SEPTA is adding service and the Philadelphia Parking Authority is providing free parking at the rail station lots at 500 Rhawn St. in Fox Chase and 4900 Grant Ave. in Torresdale. Check SEPTA.org for updates and schedules.
As for the reconstruction, Gov. Josh Shapiro issued a proclamation of disaster emergency to cut through the red tape to provide state agencies with the resources needed to repair I-95 safely and as efficiently as possible.
The governor’s proclamation makes $7 million of state funds immediately available for the reconstruction of the roadway and authorizes the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Transportation and the Pennsylvania State Police to use all available resources and personnel, as necessary. The proclamation also waives bidding and contracting procedures.
Authorities said a gas-filled commercial tanker truck fire started at about 6:20 a.m. on Sunday under I-95 near the Cottman Avenue exit, causing a portion of the highway – that otherwise was in good condition – to collapse. The truck was carrying a petroleum-based product, and the accident caused the tank to rupture. The driver was killed.
State Rep. Ed Neilson, chairman of the House Transportation Committee, was on site with city, state and federal officials to assess the situation and work with PEMA and the city Office of Emergency Management.
U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle reached out to President Biden and the White House to ensure that all available federal resources be deployed quickly to repair the damaged section of I-95 in his district. He also reached out to Mayor Jim Kenney to let him know that his office is available to help with any federal support as the repair process plays out in the weeks and months ahead.
Rep. Pat Gallagher represents the area around the emergency and thanked firefighters, police officers and OEM.
“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,” he said.
State Sen. Jimmy Dillon has been engaged with officials to ensure a coordinated response to the fire that caused the collapse in his district, and thanked first responders for their swift response. He also asked motorists to be patient and understanding with one another.
“I never doubt the resilience and solidarity of Northeast Philadelphia,” he said. “Let’s come together, support one another and navigate this difficult situation with grace.” ••