Pennsylvania Is Using Tons of Recycled Glass to Rebuild I-95

Crews continue to work the scene of a collapsed elevated section of Interstate 95, in Philadelphia, Wednesday, June 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

By Ashley Adams

June 14, 2023

The company supplying the 2,000 tons of glass aggregate has a production site just south of Philadelphia along the Delaware River, which should help avoid supply-chain delays and get the highway rebuilt faster.

In an effort to avoid supply-chain delays and rebuild as quickly as possible, Pennsylvania is trucking in 2,000 tons of lightweight glass nuggets to rebuild the collapsed section of I-95 in Philadelphia.

Gov. Josh Shapiro said union crews will work 24 hours a day until they can reopen the critical commercial artery which was damaged Sunday after a truck hauling gasoline went out of control on an off-ramp, flipped, and ignited. The northbound lanes of I-95 collapsed and the southbound lanes were severely damaged. 

During a news conference Wednesday, Shapiro declined to estimate how long it will take to get traffic flowing again on the busy highway.

“We’re going to get this job done as quickly as possible,” Shapiro said.

Under the plan, crews will not immediately rebuild the bridge, which is roughly 100 feet long and 150 feet wide. Instead, workers will fill the gap by piling recycled foam glass aggregate into the underpass area, bringing it up to surface level and then paving it over so that three lanes of traffic can reopen each way, Shapiro said.

“This approach will allow us to avoid delays due to shipping and supply chain issues and pursue a simple, quicker path,” Shapiro said.

After that, a replacement bridge will be built next to it to reroute traffic while crews excavate the fill to restore the exit ramp.

Shapiro says his administration is setting up a 24/7 live feed so people can watch the I-95 rebuild in real time.

The road disaster has upended hundreds of thousands of morning commutes, disrupted countless businesses, and forced trucking companies to find different routes. 

Demolition of both the northbound and southbound lanes in the overpass was expected to finish Thursday, and trucks hauling glass aggregate could start arriving the same day. The company supplying the glass aggregate, AeroAggregates of North America, has a production site just south of Philadelphia along the Delaware River.

The disruption is likely to raise the cost of consumer goods because truckers must now travel longer routes, US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said while visiting the accident site Tuesday..

Of the 160,000 vehicles a day that travel that section, 8% are trucks, Buttigieg said.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Author

  • Ashley Adams

    In her 16 years in the communications industry, Ashley Adams has worn many hats, including news reporter, public relations writer, marketing specialist, copy editor and technical writer. Ashley grew up in Berks County and has since returned to her roots to raise her three children.

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