I-95 Philadelphia collapse: What you need to know about the damaged highway, reconstruction

Crews have removed the charred remains of a tanker truck from a collapsed portion of I-95 following a crash and fire that are expected to impact travel in the region for months to come. 

On Monday, officials provided new details about the crash and the plans to demolish more of the roadway prior to rebuilding. 

How did the I-95 collapse happen? 

Pennsylvania State Police revealed during a Monday afternoon press briefing that a tanker truck carrying 8,500 gallons of gasoline was traveling in the northbound lanes and navigating a left-handed curve of an off-ramp when it overturned.

The crash caused the gasoline to leak into the roadway and catch fire under I-95 at Cottman Avenue. 

Philadelphia Fire Department Crews responded to the scene around 6:20 a.m. and were able to get the fire under control around 7:30 a.m. Sunday.

During the firefight, the northbound lanes of the I-95 overpass collapsed down onto the remainder of the tanker truck.

The National Transportation Safety Board is continuing to investigate the incident. 

What areas of I-95 are impacted by the collapse? 

All north and southbound lanes are closed between the Woodhaven Road and Aramingo Avenue exits. Some surrounding surface streets in the area were also closed so emergency and construction crews could access the wreckage.

Following an inspection of the southbound lanes, officials determined that the beams were no longer suitable for travel due to the fire. As a result, work to demolish the partially buckled southbound lanes would begin Monday. 

Southbound lane demolition was estimated to take four or five days. 

By Monday afternoon, much of the crumbled roadway, and the remains of the tanker truck had been removed from the scene. 

Were there any injuries? 

While several videos have surfaced on social media of motorists traveling over the fire prior to the collapse, officials say no cars were on the overpass at the time the northbound lanes collapsed.

Monday afternoon, family members identified the driver of the tanker truck as 53-year-old Nathaniel Moody.


I-95 collapse: Truck driver involved in tanker crash identified by family

Family members have identified a man they say was driving a tanker truck at the center of the I-95 fire and collapse as a local father.

Family members say officials informed them that human remains were recovered at the site of the crash and collapse, but they have not yet been positively identified.

Moody's family described him as a husband, father, and experienced driver with more than 10 years behind the wheel. They say he was transporting fuel for a company in Pennsauken, New Jersey at the time of the crash.

No other injuries have been reported and state police say no other vehicles were pulled from the rubble as of Monday afternoon.

State police officials say they have been in contact with the company that owns the tanker truck, but no information is available about the business or the driver due to the ongoing investigation.

Reaction from local and federal officials

Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro called the fire and subsequent collapse "remarkable devastation" in a late Sunday afternoon press briefing. 

Both local and federal officials were on scene Sunday and Monday detailing the damage and working to develop a plan to combat traffic issues caused by the collapse.

Shapiro says he and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney were briefed by law enforcement, first responders and transportation experts and saw an aerial view of the collapsed overpass. 

While experts are looking at temporary solutions to connect both sides of I-95 to get traffic through the area, Shapiro says a complete rebuild will take several months. 

 "I-95, of course, is a critical roadway. It supports our economy and plays an important role in folks everyday lives," Shapiro added. "Our administration, together with the Kenney administration and all of our partners are all hands on deck to repair this as safely and as efficiently as possible."

What are the traffic and transportation impacts?

Drivers are being asked to avoid the area as city, state and federal crews continue an emergency response. 

Several detours are in effect to help commuters get into Philadelphia while avoiding the area of I-95. SEPTA also added additional services and implemented changes to help travelers navigate. 

Officials say to expect delays as several surrounding streets are also closed, and to use alternate routes to drive in and out of the city.

SEPTA has added service for the Trenton, West Trenton and Fox Chase lines. In addition, there is free parking at Fern Rock, Torresdale and Fox Chase lots, as well as all regional rail stations.

Was Philadelphia's drinking water impacted by the incident?

Philadelphia Water says there is no impact to drinking water quality for residents after the tanker leaked on the interstate.

How and when will the roadway be fixed?

On Monday, Governor Shapiro issued a proclamation of disaster emergency for Philadelphia County, which is expected to help cut through red tape and give the city quick access to resources that will help repair I-95 safely and efficiently. 

"To expedite the rebuilding of I-95 and cut through the red tape, this morning, I issued a disaster declaration, allowing the Commonwealth to immediately draw down federal funds and move quickly to begin the repair and reconstruction process," said Shapiro. "My Administration is in regular contact with our federal partners, who have pledged their complete support and assistance as we create alternative routes and rebuild I-95. My Administration is all hands on deck to repair I-95 as safely and as efficiently as possible." 


The proclamation makes $7 million of state funds immediately available for the months-long reconstruction of the roadway and gives several agencies, including the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, the Department of Transportation and the Pennsylvania State Police, to use available personnel resources.

Prior the proclamation, Shaprio estimated that the road would take ‘some number of months.’