🔴 U.S. Transportation Secretary calls I-95 a 'key artery' for truckers

🔴 Additional shipping costs will add to inflation

🔴 City and federal officials to announce re-building plans Wednesday

PHILADELPHIA — The closure of Interstate 95 following the collapse of an overpass will not only impact the daily commute for thousands but the price of food and goods for millions around the country.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg visited the site in the Tacony section of Philadelphia after meeting with city and state officials about the next steps in rebuilding the road. Buttigieg said it was important to quickly and safely restore I-95, which he called a "key artery for the movement of people and goods."

To keep supplies moving until the highway is rebuilt, truckers will be forced to use toll roads like the New Jersey Turnpike and bridges to get into Philadelphia which will increase costs across the board and contribute to inflation, according to Buttigieg.

"Part of what goes into the cost of everything we pay for at the store is the cost of shipping and if a route is disrupted, or if its longer, or if trucks have to wait, that finds its way into the cost of goods," Buttigieg said. "At the end of the day, there's no substitute for I-95 being up and running in full working condition and that's the goal that everybody's working towards."

Delay on Cottman Avenue in Philadelphia near I-95 6/12/23
Delay on Cottman Avenue in Philadelphia near I-95 6/12/23 (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Replacement plans for the overpass over Cottman Avenue will be announced by Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Secretary Mike Carroll and Gov. Josh Shapiro Wednesday. The first step is the demolition of the collapsed overpasses in both directions which started Sunday and will take another four to five days.

Buttigieg said during the tour that the federal government will make every resource available in the rebuilding process. There are two tracks for funding: a quick release of funds for a specific request and reimbursements for costs that are incurred.

"There's no question in my mind that all the resources that PennDOT needs federally will be available," Buttigieg said.

The American Trucking Association told 6 ABC Action News that truckers now face 40 miles of detour that is mostly non-interstate highway with more than 60 traffic lights. According to the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, 14,000 trucks use I-95 in Philadelphia daily and it is the busiest highway in Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania Medical Examiner has not yet identified the body removed from the debris on Monday. His family has identified him as Nathan Moody.

His cousin Alex Moody said he was a father of three who began driving trucks while in the military. He worked for a company that delivers gas to Wawa stores, Alex Moody told NBC Philadelphia. They were planning a cookout for Father's Day on Sunday.

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