A two-mile stretch of Interstate 95 in Philadelphia has been closed due to a cracked column supporting the center portion of the expressway, but city officials are hopeful the highway closure, which affects both northbound and southbound lanes between Girard Avenue (Exit 23) and Allegheny Avenue (Exit 25), will reopen late tonight.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation said that trucks traveling on I-95 would be detoured to either I-676 or Route 291 to follow I-76, Route 1 or Route 63, or return to I-95.
According to PennDOT executive Lester C. Taoso, a bridge inspector noticed a 2 in. wide, 6 ft. long crack in the support column late Monday afternoon. Work to repair the crack began at 7 a.m. the next morning.
Taoso said I-95 should reopen when construction crews finish erecting four steel support towers next to the 15-ft. tall column. PennDOT added that the section of I-95, originally built in the 1960s, was previously scheduled for structural repairs later this year.
“I applaud the efforts of PennDOT and all of its partners who responded so quickly to this monumental challenge,” Pennsylvania Governor Rendell said Tuesday. “This corridor is crucial to the economic well-being of the region and we are hopeful that we can reopen I-95 tomorrow night.”
“Public safety comes first,” the Governor said. “This incident clearly demonstrates that we need a greater investment in our infrastructure –here in Pennsylvania and across the nation.”