🚗 A section of I-95 to collapsed Sunday morning

🚗 It's believed a tanker fire below the interstate caused the collapse

🚗 A recommended detour route nearly doubles the driving distance

UPDATE: Human remains discovered in collapse

An entire section of I-95 just north of the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge has collapsed due to the heat from an intense vehicle fire below the interstate.

PennDOT first alerted the public about a vehicle fire underneath I-95 in the Tacony section of Philadelphia between the exits for Academy Road and Cottman Avenue on Twitter around 6:40 a.m. Sunday morning. The northbound lanes then collapsed and the southbound lanes have shown signs of damage.

Both directions of the highway are closed between the exits for Woodhaven Blvd and Aramingo Ave, according to the Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management. Motorists are advised to avoid the area completely.

“Today’s going to be a long day. And obviously, with 95 northbound gone and southbound questionable, it’s going to be even longer than that,” Dominick Mireles, director of Philadelphia's OEM, told the Associated Press.

Mireles added that thousands of tons of steel and concrete from the fallen slab of highway had covered the fire that caused the collapse. Heavy machinery will be needed to move the debris.


🚗 Impact on NJ motorists, commuters

The collapse will have major impacts on anyone driving through Philadelphia. It's unknown how long it could take fully repair the highway. Until repairs are made, the collapse could also impact commuters in New Jersey as drivers may use I-295, The Betsy Ross Bridge, or Route 130 in Burlington County as detours.

The New Jersey  Department of Transportation has been in "constant communication" with PennDOT and federal transportation agencies throughout the morning, NJDOT Communications Director Jim Barry said in a statement.

I-95 collapse (6abc)
I-95 collapse (6abc)

"NJDOT and the New Jersey Turnpike Authority will support PennDOT in any way it can to alleviate the traffic issues arising from the fire, including coordination of on-road signage and messaging through several media platforms. Motorists are encouraged to plan additional time for their commutes and to be patient as all find the best detour route for their particular travels."

NJDOT has an official traffic information website with live highway cameras and up-to-date incidents at www.511nj.org.

🚗 What is the detour for the I-95 collapse

In an update Sunday afternoon, the City of Philadelphia gave recommended detour routes. The detour turns a 13 mile trip straight on I-95 into a trip that is nearly twice as long at around 24 miles.

For motorists headed south on I-95, the detour route is to take Route 63 West (Woodhaven Road) to Route 1 South, then to 76 East, and then use 676 East.

Detour route for I-95 after a highway collapse. (Google Maps)
Detour route for I-95 after a highway collapse. (Google Maps)

If motorists are headed north on I-95, they should use the same roads in the opposite direction. The detour starts with 676 West, followed by 76 West, then Route 1 North to Route 63 East (Woodhaven Road).

Alternatively, local residents were advised to use SEPTA when possible.

🚗 What caused the I-95 collapse?

Numerous media reports have stated the fire was caused by a tanker truck fire below the interstate. It's unknown what caused the fire or if there were any injuries. Fire crews brought the blaze under control around 7:30 a.m., according to the Philadelphia Fire Department.

Captain Derrick Bowmer, of the Philadelphia Fire Department, told NBC 10 Philadelphia that runoff of an unknown substance from the truck was seeping underground and exploding. Bowmer said there were fires erupting from manholes in the area.

Video posted to Twitter by Mark Fusetti, a retired Philadelphia police sergeant, on I-95 just minutes before the collapse showed plumes of black smoke billowing in the sky. There was a noticeable buckling of the highway as the vehicle passes through. Fusetti told the AP that he saw vehicles coming to a stop in his rearview mirror.

“It was crazy timing,” Fusetti said. “For it to buckle and collapse that quickly, it’s pretty remarkable.”

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