‘Remarkable Devastation’: Collapsed Portion Of Interstate Will Take ‘Months’ To Rebuild

(Photo by City of Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management via Getty Images)

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After a tanker fire caused a portion of Interstate 95 (I-95) to collapse Sunday, Democratic Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro issued a disaster declaration, estimating that repairs to the heavily-trafficked highway would take months.

Just before 6:30 a.m. Sunday, a tanker carrying approximately 8,500 gallons of gasoline caught fire while traveling under an overpass in Philadelphia. The subsequent blaze and explosions caused the northbound lanes of the interstate to collapse while the southbound lanes were left “compromised” by the heat of the blaze, Philadelphia Fire Department Captain Derrick Bowmer stated, according to The Associated Press (AP).

Mark Fusetti, a retired Philadelphia police sergeant, was on the interstate when just before the collapse occurred, traveling south towards Philadelphia’s airport. As he passed the portion of the roadway affected by the fire, Fusetti told The AP the roadway began to visibly “dip”, halting traffic behind him. Moments later, the northbound lanes collapsed. (RELATED: As If Times Weren’t Scary Enough, Now Sinkholes Are Swallowing Vans In NYC)

“It was crazy timing,” Fusetti told The AP. “For it to buckle and collapse that quickly, it’s pretty remarkable.”

Believed to be one of the busiest roadways in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Gov. Shapiro assessed the damage as “remarkable devastation” and issued a disaster declaration Monday in an attempt to hasten federal funds and repairs to the “critical” highway, the outlet reported. I-95 is a major artery that spans the entire East Coast from the Canadian border in Maine to the southern tip of Florida.

Shapiro announced that a rebuild of that portion of I-95 would likely take months to complete, adding that officials were looking at “interim solutions to connect both sides of I-95 to get traffic through the area,” The AP reported.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg warned the interstate closure would have a”significant impact on the city and region until reconstruction and recovery are complete.”

Of the collapse, Shapiro stated that he found himself “thanking the Lord” that there were no injuries or deaths that occurred as a result of the incident, CNN reported.