Investigators look for cause of the collapse of a section of highway in Philadelphia

State and federal investigators were trying to find out Monday why the tanker truck fire caused a section of the main highway that crosses east of USA from north to south, wreaking havoc on hundreds of thousands of morning commutes and disrupting the trade of untold numbers of businesses.

Interstate 95 will be closed in both directions for weeks at the start of the summer travel season. The motorists should prepare for long delays and street closures, and avoid the northeast corner of the country’s sixth most populous city, transportation authorities said.

The accident also disrupted the automobile route from Canada to Florida through the Boston, New York and Washington metropolitan areas, increasing Americans’ reliance on air travel and the interstate rail network.

Pennsylvania Transportation Secretary Michael Carroll said about 160,000 vehicles travel on the stretch of I-95 a day and it was probably the busiest interstate highway in Pennsylvania.

The fire on Sunday morning sent plumes of black smoke into the air. The northbound lanes collapsed and southbound lanes compromised, according to the Philadelphia Fire Department.

Authorities have not publicly identified the truck’s owner or driver, indicated whether the driver survived, or said what exactly caused the fire. A spokesman for the Pennsylvania State Police earlier Monday had no information on those details and did not say when police could reveal more.

Gov. Josh Shapiro activated a disaster declaration Monday, saying it gives state agencies the ability to bypass normal bidding and contracting requirements so the stretch can be repaired more quickly. The declaration lasts for 21 days, unless lawmakers agree to extend it. Shapiro said Sunday that no motorists on the road were injured or killed, although videos shared on social media showed some close-ups, with people being led through flames licking up from the fire below.

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American Automobile Association spokeswoman Jana Tidwell called for a “ripple effect” of congestion and that the shutdown could also mean drivers incur more costs — like wear and tear on their cars, more tolls and gas — while cruising. for the detours.

According to authorities, the tanker truck contained a petroleum product that could contain hundreds of liters of gasoline. It took an hour to get the fire under control.

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