Editor's note: This story has been updated with a new timeline for reopening the overpass.
That timeline is faster than expected: After an aerial tour of the site with President Joe Biden Saturday, the governor had said reopening would happen within the next two weeks.
Philadelphia Building Trades workers have been on the scene around the clock, completing demolition ahead of schedule and pouring a foamed glass aggregate to repair the roadway, Shapiro said after his visit with Biden.
“We are going to get traffic moving again thanks to the extraordinary work of those here and our incredible union trade workers,” Shapiro said.
The repairs are being partially funded by a $3 million quick-release grant announced by the Federal Highway Administration on Thursday.
Biden called the funds a “down payment,” promising the federal government would fully reimburse the state for the first 200 days of work, plus 90% of the work after that.
“You’re going to be getting a lot more federal funding out the door in the coming weeks,” the president said.
The $8.9 billion Pennsylvania received from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, $6.5 billion for transportation projects, gives Shapiro flexibility to shift existing state funds to the repairs, Biden said.
More than 150,000 vehicles and 14,000 trucks per day typically crossed that section of the East Coast’s largest interstate; the overpass collapsed from a tanker truck explosion below on the morning of June 11, and the tanker driver died in the incident.
Fully reopening the roadway had initially been projected to take months. Hitting the governor’s goal would mean significantly accelerating that timeline.
The project’s use of foamed glass aggregate fill — rushed by police escort from from AeroAggregates in nearby Delaware County, Pennsylvania — and its “incredibly innovative” design, will allow work to be completed in record time, the president said.
Crews are making headway on an interim roadway, which will first open three temporary travel lanes in each direction on I-95 while the outer sections of the permanent bridge are rebuilt, according to PennDOT.
“There’s no more important project right now in the country, as far as I’m concerned,” Biden said.