Grappling with gridlock: Commuters speak to Action News on finding ways around I-95 collapse

"I think a lot of people woke up and thought, 'Oh my goodness, what happened?' People disconnected from the weekend."

Katherine Scott Image
Monday, June 12, 2023
Grappling with gridlock: Commuters speak on finding ways around I-95
The I-95 collapse in Northeast Philadelphia forced commuters to find a new way to work.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- It was gridlock in Northeast Philadelphia Monday morning as commuters were forced to find a new way to work after a portion of I-95 collapsed over the weekend.

"You don't realize how much that cripples the city," said Ruth Acker of Bridesburg.

"Usually I drive over to the train, but there's way too much traffic right now. My husband just drove my daughter through school, and he had to go through driveways and stuff," said Jeanie Nagle of Wissinoming,

"It's been real hard to get across streets and everything, for the kids to go to school," added pedestrian William Reed.

Cars crawled on Harbison Avenue in Frankford. They inched along Frankford Avenue in Mayfair.

A line of drivers on Tulip Street crept slowly toward the traffic light at Harbison.

"I was supposed to go to work. Stopped at Wawa - made a mistake - 45-minute detour just to get to Wawa," said commuter Danny Rodriguez.

"I'm actually going to work at University City so it will probably take me awhile," said Gary Johnson of Wissinoming, who had no idea what route he would take.

Jana Tidwell from AAA Mid-Atlantic explains a ripple effect will be felt beyond these immediate streets since I-95 is a major thoroughfare for commuters, travel and commerce.

"I think a lot of people woke up and thought, 'Oh my goodness, what happened?' People disconnected from the weekend," Tidwell said.

"(I-95) might not be your commute - 76 could be your commute, 476 could be your commute. You're going to feel the residuals of people avoiding this area on all of the other major arteries throughout the region," continued Tidwell.

SEPTA added morning and late afternoon trains on the Trenton Line, and added capacity to regularly scheduled Trenton, West Trenton and Fox Chase Lines during peak hours. The agency is also boosting staff levels on the Market-Frankford Line, buses and other transit service.

"Going back, there's going to be a whole lot of people. A whole lot of people," remarked Yoofi Danquah of Bustleton.

The Philadelphia Parking Authority is providing free parking at their park-and-ride lots at Fern Rock, Fox Chase and Torresdale. There's also free parking at all SEPTA-owned Regional Rail lots, and the Frankford Transportation Center for access to the Market-Frankford line.

"I'm anticipating more traffic going back and forth through the stations or the terminals, more than it normally would be because this lot is never full," said commuter Tonya McGrier, speaking about a SEPTA parking lot.