How to Get Around the I-95 Collapse in Philadelphia, and What It Might Mean for Summer Travel



A key section of the busy Interstate 95 in Philadelphia collapsed on Sunday, closing the highway and resulting in what will be a months-long impact on travel. 

The collapse occurred after a truck caught fire on the Route 73/Cottman Avenue ramp, causing the roadway to partially collapse and heavily damaging the southbound roadway, Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro said in a statement. Currently, the governor’s office said the southbound side “is not structurally sound to carry any traffic over it.”

“Interstate 95 is a critical artery that supports our economy and plays an important role in Pennsylvanians’ day-to-day lives. My administration is all hands on deck to repair this safely and as efficiently as possible,” Shapiro said in a statement. “We will rebuild and recover – and in the meantime, we will make sure people can get to where they need to go safely.”

City of Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management/Getty Images

Officials said it will take months to fully rebuild the highway, which runs north-to-south along the East Coast. In the meantime, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has set up detours to route travelers around the damaged road, which it has detailed on a special section of its website.

For travelers headed south, the Pennsylvania DOT recommends they take Route 63 West to U.S. 1 South to 76 East to 676 East. From 676 East, drivers can then get back on I-95 South. Travelers heading north can do the same route in reverse to bypass the closed section of the road.

But the road closure will no doubt have an impact on summer travel just as the country gears up for summer road trip season on the East Coast. To that end, Transportation Sec. Pete Buttigieg said travelers should “pay close attention” to traffic alerts “as we expect significant regional traffic impact.”

“This is a major artery for people and goods, and the closure will have significant impacts on the city and region until reconstruction and recovery are complete,” Buttigieg tweeted. “Our department will be there with support throughout the process of I-95 returning to normal.” 

This summer is expected to be a busy one for travel with about 37 million Americans hitting the road over the Memorial Day holiday weekend, a 6 percent increase compared to last year.

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