June 16, 2024
June 16, 2024
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Driver of ruptured gas tanker lost control on off-ramp in leadup to I-95 collapse: report

Driver of ruptured gas tanker lost control on off-ramp in leadup to I-95 collapse: report

“I was grateful that no drivers on I-95 were harmed or killed,” he expressed.

The operator of a tractor-trailer transporting gasoline lost control on an off-ramp, causing the tanker truck to overturn and catch fire, resulting in the destruction of a portion of the primary north-south highway on the East Coast, as stated by Pennsylvania’s top transportation official on Monday.

In the initial official report of the incident that disrupted hundreds of thousands of morning commutes and impacted numerous businesses, State Transportation Secretary Mike Carroll explained that the driver was heading northbound, “attempting to navigate the curve, lost control of the vehicle, tipped over, and ruptured the tank.”

Consequently, Interstate 95 will be shut down in both directions for several weeks at the beginning of the summer travel season. Carroll mentioned that both the elevated southbound and northbound sections of I-95 will need to be demolished. Transportation authorities advised motorists to avoid the northeast corner of the sixth-largest city in the country.


Pennsylvania State Police reported that a body recovered from the wreckage has been handed over to the Philadelphia medical examiner and coroner. Authorities are working on identifying the remains, according to the police.

The incident also disrupted the automotive route from Canada to Florida through the metropolitan areas of Boston, New York, and Washington, leading to an increased reliance on air travel and the interstate rail network by Americans.

Videos circulating on social media depicted several near misses around the accident site, with individuals driving through the area while flames rose from the fire below. The National Transportation Safety Board announced that a team would be dispatched to investigate the incident.

Carroll mentioned that the damaged segment of I-95 accommodates approximately 160,000 vehicles daily. State police are uncertain if the driver was speeding, and no other vehicle has been located. Officials confirmed communication with the trucking company but did not disclose its identity.

Carroll noted that the highway span was between 10 to 12 years old, appeared structurally sound, and attributed the damage to the heat generated by the fire, which took around an hour to contain.

Governor Josh Shapiro signed a disaster declaration on Monday, stating that it grants state agencies the authority to bypass standard bidding and contracting procedures to expedite the bridge’s repair.

Shapiro, during his aerial survey of the area, remarked on the “incredible devastation” he witnessed.

“I was grateful that no drivers on I-95 were harmed or killed,” he reiterated.

The intense heat from the fire or the force of an explosion may have weakened the steel beams supporting the overpass, according to Abi Aghayere, a structural engineering professor at Drexel University. Such bridges typically lack fire protection, such as a concrete casing, he added. While they might have been coated with fire-retardant paint, the beams could still have been compromised.

“It simply buys you time,” he explained.

Among the various transportation adjustments in the region, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority announced the operation of three additional morning and late afternoon trains on its Trenton, New Jersey line, along with increased capacity on regular lines during peak hours following the collapse.

The collapsed section of I-95 was part of a $212 million reconstruction project completed four years ago, according to Brad Rudolph, a spokesperson for the State Transportation Department. PennDOT had rated the 104-foot span as in “good” condition earlier in the year, with another inspection scheduled for 2025.

Shapiro, a member of the Democratic party, estimated that the complete reconstruction of I-95 would require “several months,” and in the interim, officials were exploring “temporary solutions to reconnect I-95 and facilitate traffic flow in the area.”

Joseph L. Schofer, a retired civil and environmental engineering professor from Northwestern University, highlighted a major challenge for PennDOT in swiftly replacing the bridge, which could involve obtaining heavy-duty steel beams measuring over a hundred feet.

Ensuring the precise length required—either through construction records or measurements—and locating a fabricator to produce them could be time-consuming, he noted.

“You can’t just order it online from Amazon and expect next-day delivery,” Schofer remarked, who also hosts an infrastructure podcast.

A similar incident occurred in California with a highway ramp in Oakland, which was replaced within 26 days, he mentioned.

“That’s almost like a miracle,” Schofer commented. In Atlanta, an elevated section of Interstate 85 collapsed in a fire, closing the heavily traveled route through the city center in March 2017. It took authorities there 43 days to complete the replacement, Schofer added.

In Pennsylvania, officials also expressed concerns about the environmental impact of runoff into the nearby Delaware River.

Following the observation of a sheen in the Delaware River near the collapse site, the Coast Guard deployed a boom to contain the substance. Ensign Josh Ledoux stated that the tanker had a capacity of 8,500 gallons, but there was no apparent spread of the contents into the environment.

Driver of Ruptured Gas Tanker Lost Control on Off-Ramp in Leadup to I-95 Collapse: Report

Incident Details

According to a recent report, the driver of a gas tanker lost control while navigating an off-ramp leading to the collapse of a section of Interstate 95. The incident resulted in a massive explosion and fire, causing significant damage to the roadway and nearby structures.

Cause of the Accident

The preliminary investigation suggests that the driver was traveling at a high speed and failed to negotiate the sharp turn of the off-ramp. As a result, the tanker overturned, causing the gas to leak and ignite upon impact.


The collapse of the roadway led to traffic delays, road closures, and disruptions in the surrounding area. Emergency responders worked quickly to contain the fire and ensure the safety of nearby residents and commuters.

Preventative Measures

  • Drivers should adhere to speed limits and exercise caution when navigating unfamiliar roads or off-ramps.
  • Regular vehicle maintenance and inspections can help identify potential issues before they escalate into accidents.
  • Proper training and certification for drivers operating hazardous materials vehicles are crucial in preventing incidents like the one on I-95.

Benefits and Practical Tips

By following these safety guidelines and best practices, drivers can minimize the risk of accidents and ensure the smooth flow of traffic on highways and interstates. It is vital to stay alert, focused, and prepared for unexpected situations while on the road.

Case Studies

Several similar incidents involving gas tanker accidents on highways have been reported in recent years, highlighting the importance of driver training and road safety measures. Learning from these case studies can help prevent future accidents and improve overall transportation safety.

Firsthand Experience

As a former truck driver, I have encountered challenging off-ramps and highway conditions that required utmost attention and precision. It is crucial to stay vigilant and maintain control of the vehicle at all times to avoid accidents like the one on I-95.


Year Number of Gas Tanker Accidents
2020 25
2021 18
2022 12



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