I-95 collapse: Pennsylvania transportation officials lay out plans to repair and rebuild section of highway



CNN

A body was recovered from the rubble Interstate 95 Authorities on Tuesday identified the driver of a truck that crashed and caught fire under a freeway in Philadelphia.

The truck driver, Nathan Moody, died of blunt force trauma, inhalation and thermal injuries to the head, Philadelphia Health Department spokesman James Caro told CNN.

Moody was a 53-year-old father of three and a professional truck driver, said his cousin Isaac Moody.

“Truck driving meant everything to him, it was his livelihood,” Isaac Moody told CNN in an interview Monday afternoon.

The Moody Family

Nathan Moody, the truck driver involved in the tanker crash, has been identified.

The tanker truck was carrying 8,500 gallons of gasoline when it crashed Sunday and caught fire under I-95, officials said. A portion of the freeway’s overhead northbound lane collapsed on top of it.

Pennsylvania Transportation Secretary Mike Carroll said Monday that the truck was attempting to negotiate a curve at about 6:30 a.m. when it fell onto its side, crashed into a wall, and caught fire.

Moody’s family heard about the accident and immediately began calling him, but grew concerned when their calls went unanswered, Isaac Moody said.

A state trooper later arrived Monday and said a badly burned body had been pulled from the wreckage and requested dental records to identify the man, Isaac Moody said.

The mangled and charred wreckage of the truck was towed away Monday while crews with heavy equipment worked through the wreckage. Demolition is expected to take four to five days, according to Carroll.

As crews work around the clock to demolish the crumbling section of I-95, officials warn it could take months to repair the damage to the vital East Coast artery that carries about 160,000 vehicles through Philadelphia each day.

Carroll said he and Gov. Josh Shapiro will announce plans to rebuild the highway on Wednesday.

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U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg visited the site of the collapse on Tuesday, telling reporters his agency would help provide “all necessary resources” to local officials to address the damage.

Buttigieg described the “huge impact” on passenger and freight movement in the area.

About 8% of those vehicles are trucks, which now have to take longer, more expensive routes, Buttigieg said. “The size of America’s gross domestic product is moving down that road every day,” he said.

Buttigieg said his department is working with Google and Waze to improve traffic information for travelers.

The fire caused the truck to fall on the northbound side of the interstate, officials said. The southbound lanes have also been compromised, officials said, and need to be repaired. The primary detour is about 23 miles using state or interstate roads, local transportation officials said.

The National Transportation Safety Board has begun its investigation and said the tanker truck will be the first focus.

Mark Makela/Getty Images

Workers surveyed and removed debris from the site of the Interstate 95 crash on Monday.

Officials said the company that owns the truck is in contact with authorities and is complying with state police. State police did not identify the agency.

Buttigieg said his company is ready to help local officials quickly address the extensive disruption caused by the collapse. “To be clear, it’s not going to happen quickly overnight,” Butieck told reporters at an event hosted by the Council of American Engineering Institutions on Monday. “We’re talking about major structural work.”

The governor issued a disaster declaration Monday, which he said would allow the state to dip into federal funding and cut red tape to speed up repairs. The Declaration $7 million in government funding is immediately available for renovations — though the total cost of the massive project is unclear.

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Shapiro spoke with President Joe Biden on Monday, who “reaffirmed the federal government’s commitment to provide the resources necessary to safely and efficiently repair I-95.” Governor’s office said.

A timeline for the reconstruction work will be released after engineers review it, the state Department of Transportation said.

“Crews will be working around the clock to ensure demolition and reconstruction can proceed quickly and efficiently, and the roadway will reopen as soon as possible,” the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation said.

A team of federal investigators began looking into the tanker truck fire and how it led to the highway collapse as machinery hauled away pieces of the collapsed highway, NTSB Chairman Jennifer Homandy told CNN on Monday.

Matt Slocum/AP

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg speaks to members of the media at the scene of a partial collapse of Interstate 95 in Philadelphia on Tuesday.

The tanker was carrying gasoline for delivery at a local Wawa gas station.

“We go in and think what happened to the tanker truck,” Homandy said. “There are many different scenarios.”

Investigators will also need to examine the bridge’s structural makeup, Homandy said.

Pennsylvania State Police said Monday that authorities will not open a criminal investigation into the collapse.

Just before the crash, Mark Fusetti was driving southbound on I-95 in Philadelphia and started filming when he saw dark smoke.

Fusetti’s cell phone footage shows his car and other vehicles driving A “dip” along I-95 There is smoke on both sides of the highway.

“I realized what had happened when I looked in my rearview mirror. I see 95 — all the cars stopped, and then I learned, after a while the road collapsed, and that’s what was really going on,” Fusetti told CNN’s Jim Acosta on Sunday.

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Along with the smoke and fire under the freeway, there were “explosions caused by the flow of some fuel or gas pipelines that may have been compromised by the crash,” said Philadelphia Fire Department Battalion Chief Derek Pomer.

The crumbling road is one of the city’s busiest interstates — a vital east coast route that supports Pennsylvania’s economy.

Repair of highway Probably monthsShapiro said his office is looking at “alternatives to connect the road beyond the detours.”

Billy Kyle/Reuters

A collapsed section of Interstate 95 is seen in this still image obtained from a social media video.

Impacts could spread across the state and the greater Northeast. Buttigieg said the incident “will cause extensive disruption to the movement of people and goods through that area.”

He called it “a brutal reminder of the importance of our infrastructure” at a meeting of the American Council of Engineering Companies on Monday.

Residents were warned of delays to garbage collection and bus routes in the area. All lanes of I-95 are closed between the Woodhaven and Aramingo exits, the city of Philadelphia said.

Commuters were forced to find new ways to get to work Monday morning, with traffic impacts extending beyond I-95.

“You don’t realize how much it cripples the city,” resident Ruth Acker said CNN affiliate WPVI.

“I have to go to work. Stopped at Wawa — made a mistake — 45-minute detour to get to Wawa,” passenger Danny Rodriguez told WPVI.

Officials in New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland helped manage I-95 traffic in the wake of the collapse, Carroll said Monday.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority added additional capacity and service to other transit lines and said it is evaluating all options to help travelers navigate around the highway ramp.

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