Philadelphia/ Transportation & Infrastructure
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Published on May 24, 2024
I-95 in Northeast Philadelphia Fully Reopened Ahead of Memorial DaySource: Unsplash/ Pawel Czerwinski

Just in time for the Memorial Day rush, Philly drivers are getting a break. Officials marked the "full restoration" of Interstate 95 in Northeast Philadelphia Thursday, a swift finish to a construction saga that started with a fiery disaster nearly a year ago. According to NBC Philadelphia, the celebrations come less than a year after a tanker truck crash and the ensuing fire caused part of the vital artery to collapse, disrupting daily commutes and piling on traffic headaches.

PennDOT Secretary Mike Carroll, alongside Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt, and other dignitaries, praised the workers and collaboration that led to the speedy reconstruction. "Today serves as another example to all that Pennsylvania can do big things,” Carroll stated, emphasizing the seamless traffic flow and restoration work, NBC Philadelphia reports.

While the highway was initially reopened with a temporary fix, drivers have since been waiting for the final touches. Crews managed the feat with innovative materials, including a lightweight rock-like glass aggregate, detailed in a report by CBS News Philadelphia. The makeshift roadway sufficed for close to a year, but now, with PennDOT's green light, the fully reinstated eight lanes have rolled out the welcome mat for the city's motorists.

In the crash's fiery aftermath, tanker driver Nathan Moody, 53, was killed. While the incident’s shadow lingers, the swift reconstruction efforts have offered a glimpse of renewal. As PennDOT wraps up the project, removing barriers and adding the final lane markings, reports from 6ABC highlight enhanced road safety measures, including new signage and road treatments to keep vehicles safely in their lanes and ready for the curves ahead.

Commuters share mixed feelings of relief and remembrance. Southwest Philadelphia's Adrienne Hardy, contemplating a return to the expressway, told 6ABC, "I think they are highway angels." Another driver, Kilcullen, offered a stoic take on the situation: "It's the best they could do with the situation," adding that despite the disruption, jobs were maintained and things look promising ahead.