Pennsylvania I-95 collapse: Truck-safe detours and alternate routes

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Updated Jun 20, 2023

I-95 fire collapse@PhillyFireDept via TwitterAfter a bridge collapse on Pennsylvania's stretch of Interstate 95 near the Cottman Avenue exit in Northeast Philadelphia, truck drivers are sharing alternative routes and detours to work around the disruption to the major artery. 

Right now, I-95 remains closed between exists 30 and 32.

"Southbound I-95 motorists can go as far south as the Cottman Avenue exit. Northbound I-95 motorists can go as far north as Exit 26, which is Betsy Ross Bridge/Aramingo Avenue," PA's Department of Transportation posted

PennDOT recommends the following detour routes:

  • I-95 Southbound: Route 63 West (Woodhaven Road), U.S. 1 South, 76 East, I-676 East
  • I-95 Northbound: I-676 West, I-76 West, U.S. 1 North to Route 63 East (Woodhaven Road) 

But are these detours safe for trucks?

"The PennDOT-established detours were developed to carry standard commercial truck traffic," the organization wrote to Overdrive. "As is standard PennDOT practice, any oversized vehicles should continue to go through our regular permitting process."

Chris Porricelli, owner of CAP Trucking, an Overdrive 2022 Small Fleet Champ, runs an LTL reefer operation mostly from Florida to New York and New Jersey as well as parts of Pennsylvania, and knows the area well. 

"Those roads," the ones suggested by PennDOT, "are all good and truck-friendly, but they're all toll roads and part of the PA Turnpike" system, he said. "So they charge by weight and axles."

"In that stretch of Philadelphia, unless you’re on the side roads, there really aren’t any low bridges," he said. 

Remember, Pennsylvania has some of the steepest tolls in the nation, so make sure your toll payment system is up to date and get ready to come out the other side a bit lighter, as it were.  

[Related: Toll roads on the rise: What's an operator's best electronic-collections option?]

But Porricelli is recommending a different set of detours for his own drivers: I-476 and I-276, both also toll roads. Another option: "Cross the 322 bridge (Commodore Barry Bridge) into Jersey up and around back onto I-95," while headed northbound, he said. 

Porricelli seemed to think there were plenty of workable detours in the area and not much in the way of hazards for truck operators to worry about. 

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Walkabout Transport owner Debbie Desiderato, who frequently runs New York to Virginia, said that I-295 represented the obvious detour, but "everyone is taking it."

Porricelli agreed, saying he expected "more traffic on those roads, but as far as expenses are concerned, with our time, I don’t think it’ll be crazy."

As far as the collapsed portion of I-95 goes, PennDOT expects it will take four or so more days until it's demolished, and then "months" until it's back in working order. 

More I-95 collapse coverage: 

**I-95 in Pennsylvania to reopen 'within two weeks'
**Pennsylvania gets $3 million to kickstart I-95 repairs
**Pennsylvania I-95 tanker driver ID'd as Nathan Moody of TK Transport