I-95 Bridge Collapses After Fiery Tanker Crash

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Updated Jun 15, 2023
collapsed bridge I-95 Philadelphia northbound
The northbound section of I-95 in Northeast Philadelphia collapsed after a petroleum tanker caught fire beneath it June 11.
City of Philadelphia

Editor’s Note: This story was updated June 13, 2023.

A section of Interstate 95 in Northeast Philadelphia traveled by an estimated 160,000 motorists a day collapsed Sunday morning after a petroleum tanker caught fire underneath it.

The fire occurred on the Route 73/Cottman Avenue ramp under I-95 causing the northbound roadway above to partially collapse and heavy damage to the southbound lanes, according to Governor Josh Shapiro.

Shapiro said it will take months before the overpass bridges could be reopened.

According to Pennsylvania Secretary of Transportation Mike Carroll, demolition of the collapsed roadway has begun and is expected to be completed in four to five days. “Crews will work around the clock to ensure that demolition and reconstruction occurs quickly and efficiently, and that the roadway will reopen as soon as possible,” Carroll said.

A body was recovered from the wreckage and has been turned over to the Philadelphia County Medical Examiner and Coroner, according to the Pennsylvania State Police. Authorities are in the process of identifying the remains. 

“Interstate 95 is a critical artery that supports our economy and plays an important role in Pennsylvanians’ day to day lives,” Shapiro said. “… We will rebuild and recover, and in the meantime, we will make sure people can get to where they need to go safely."

aerial view of collapsed section of I-95 PhiladelphiaA view of the collapse during a flyover June 11 by Gov. Josh Shapiro to survey the damage.Gov. Josh Shapiro's office

Details about the cause of the fire and the driver are still being investigated. Officials said Monday that the driver crashed into a wall after losing control while taking the northbound off-ramp. The tanker, which has been removed, was carrying 8.500 gallons of gasoline and landed on its side. So far, no other injuries or fatalities from the incident have been reported, according to city and state officials.

The incident occurred at 6:20 a.m. June 11. The Philadelphia Fire Department reported that the blaze was under control by 7:30 a.m.

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“This incident will cause significant disruption, not only to residents and businesses in the area, but also to commerce and travelers along the East Coast,” said Randy Padfield, director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency. “We will work closely with our federal, state and Philadelphia partners to provide the necessary support and resources to make repairs as quickly as possible.”

Detours have been set up for drivers to avoid the area. Media report traffic backups at the start of the Monday morning commute.

view beneath the collapsed I95 sectionA view underneath the collapsed section of I-95 on June 11.City of Philadelphia

“The complete rebuilding of the I-95 roadway is expected to take a number of months,” according to Shapiro. “The Administration will have a more exact timeline in the coming days once the engineers complete their review.”

Shapiro issued a disaster declaration Monday to expedite the flow of federal funding for repair and reconstruction.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is investigating the damage to the roadway, and law enforcement and emergency officials continue to investigate the cause. A more detailed timeline on rebuilding the overpass is expected in a few days.

The National Transportation Safety Board reports that its investigators arrived at the site Monday and began gathering data about the truck, contacted the tanker carrier about its fleet operation and spoke with emergency responders. The NTSB says a preliminary report will be released in two to three weeks.

thick black smoke billows from site of I95 collapse PhiladelphiaPhiladelphia Fire Department

firefighters battle fire under collapsed I95 section PhiladelphiaPhiladelphia Fire Department