I-95 collapse: Local businesses, neighbors express optimism as rebuilding progresses rapidly

It’s been one week since a portion of I-95 collapsed in Northeast Philadelphia and incredible progress has been made since a tanker truck crashed and caught fire, leaving the northbound lanes in rubble.

A live stream from PennDOT shows crews have been working around the clock to get temporary lanes built, so the major east coast highway can, at least, partially reopen. Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro says he expects traffic to be moving within the next two weeks.

There is no timeline for how long it will take to be permanently fixed, but people are optimistic about the progress, saying they would never have believed two weeks for a solution when the damage was so severe just one week ago.

From the air Friday, a gaping hole as workers dropped glass aggregate along a wall. Progress was made by Monday as crews worked 24 hours a day to fill the hole. 

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This image from PennDOT's I-95 camera shows repair crews working on the collapse site on Friday, June 16. 

Mayfair resident Danielle Reynolds said, "I believe they’re going to get it done in the two weeks. I do! They’re making progress already."


After Governor Shapiro boldly expressed confidence that I-95 will be re-opened within the next two weeks, neighbors in Mayfair say the progress so far makes that believable.

PennDOT officials announced Sunday they could finish filling in the area of the collapse with recycled glass aggregate in the next day or two. Crews will then install eight inches of modified sub-base and an edge and median barrier.

They will prepare the transition between the new roadway and existing lanes and then paving will start.

After an aerial tour Saturday, President Joe Biden said there’s no other infrastructure project in the country that’s more important than the I-95 rebuild.

"We’re to reimburse 100 percent of this phase of the work and well over the first 200 days and then, after that, 90 percent of the work," President Biden said. "We’ll be here until the end. We won’t leave until it’s finished."

Chef and owner of Sweet Lucy’s Smokehouse, Brooke Higgins, stated, "That was such a surprise and we’re so happy because this is kind of our busy time of year."

Higgins says sales of the restaurant on State Road were cut in half this week. But, with community support and a target date way sooner than she expected, she’s fully optimistic. "All our regulars have come in, which is really nice. We’ve had people buy gift cards and say, ‘I don’t want to come in right now, because of traffic, but I want to support you guys. For two weeks, we can do anything for two weeks."