I-95 collapse will 'likely' have significant impact on supply chain: American Trucking Association

I-95 is an important artery for not only the East Coast but for regional transportation and commuters in Philadelphia.

Wednesday, June 14, 2023
I-95 collapse will 'likely' have significant impact on supply chain
A spokesperson for the trade group said Monday that roughly 8-9% of vehicles that pass through that portion of the highway are commercial trucks.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The I-95 collapse in Philadelphia will likely have a significant impact on the supply chain industry, according to the American Trucking Association.

A spokesperson for the trade group said Monday that roughly 8-9% of vehicles that pass through that portion of the highway are commercial trucks.

"Those vehicles are now subject to more than 40 miles of detour, a detour that is mostly non-Interstate highway with more than 60 traffic lights," the spokesperson said. "This will add significant cost in time, fuel and delays so we urge state and federal agencies to target appropriate resources to repairing and replacing this highway as quickly as possible."

SEE ALSO: I-95 collapse in Philadelphia updates: Human remains found in wreckage | Truck driver identified

Sources have identified the driver of the truck that caught fire before a portion of Interstate 95 collapsed.

Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg vowed federal help to fix the collapsed interstate and warned of the possible supply chain impacts.

"If a route is disrupted or it's longer or trucks have to wait, that find it's way into the cost of goods," he said Tuesday during a visit in Philadelphia.

The collapse happened on Sunday after a tanker truck went up in flames below the interstate.

The tanker truck, carrying 8,500 of gasoline, attempted to navigate a left-hand turn after exiting at the Cottman Avenue offramp of I-95, according to officials. Losing control through its turn, the tanker fell on its side and ruptured its own tank, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Secretary Mike Carroll said as a press conference Monday. Once ignited, the fuel burned at a high enough heat to structurally compromise the concrete and steel I-beams of the overpass.

The intense flames forced a portion of the northbound lanes to collapse, and the southbound portion suffered critical damaged and needs to be replaced, officials said.

I-95 is an important artery for not only the East Coast but for regional transportation and commuters in Philadelphia. The affected portion of I-95 carries about 150,000 vehicles per day, of which 14,000 are trucks, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission said.

Along with traffic, there could be an economic impact from a closure this massive, snarling commutes and complicating deliveries. Tumar Alexander, managing director for the City of Philadelphia, said the incident will have "a significant impact to this community for a while."

SEE ALSO: Detours posted following I-95 collapse in Philadelphia | What residents, visitors should know

Matt Pellman breaks down the best ways to get your destination after a portion of I-95 collapsed in Tacony.

There are a number of industrial businesses ranging from port facilities to manufacturing surrounding the collapsed portion of the highway, making it a prime corridor for regional freight movement, said Kristen Scudder, the city's planning commission freight program manager.

"Those industries are what's going to feel the brunt of the disruption probably due to surface street delays and potentially diversions for shipments coming in and out," Scudder said.

Truck drivers like Jose Batista, who works for Dietz and Watson, are already feeling the impact.

"It's adding at least a half hour in the morning. In the afternoon, it's adding close to an hour going back to the warehouse," said Batista.

The majority of national freight movement goes through nearby Interstate 295 and the New Jersey Turnpike, making I-95 a corridor for local goods to the national network.

However, Scrudder added travel behavior should stabilize as drivers become accustomed to detours.

It remains unclear how long the repairs to the interstate will take.

On Sunday, Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro said it could take a "number of months."

Carroll pledged on Monday to work "24/7" to "attack this problem in the most efficient way possible so that we can resume normal traffic movements on I-95."

All lanes between the exits for Philadelphia's Woodhaven Road and Aramingo Avenue are closed in both directions indefinitely.

The Philadelphia Medical Examiner's Office officially identified the victim killed in collapse as Nathan Moody.

Officials say he died from blunt trauma of the head, inhalation and thermal injuries. His manner of death was ruled an accident.

According to family members, Moody worked for TK Transport in Pennsauken, New Jersey. They say he was an experienced truck driver.

SEE ALSO: 'The road's falling': Philly drivers capture video of heavy flames before I-95 collapse

The fire was so big it had overtaken both northbound and southbound lanes on the highway, witness Lisa Taormino, who was commuting southbound on I-95 about 20 minutes before it collapsed, told ABC News.

Governor Shapiro signed a disaster declaration on Monday, which he said would allow Pennsylvania to use federal funds in its rebuilding effort and immediately access $7 million in state funds.

The complete demolition of the bridge is likely to be complete within the next four to five days, officials said.

The bridge itself, which was constructed 10 to 12 years ago, was "structurally sound" prior to the crash, Carroll said.

ABC News and CNN contributed to this report.