Governor Shapiro Gets Stuff Done: Reopening I-95 in Just 12 Days, Investing in Infrastructure, & Delivering the Largest Investment in State Parks in Decades
December 11, 2023
Harrisburg, PA – Since taking office, Governor Shapiro and the Shapiro Administration have gotten stuff done by repairing our roads and bridges, investing in infrastructure, and supporting Pennsylvania’s state parks – from reopening a portion of I-95 in Philadelphia just 12 days after its collapse to delivering the largest investment in state parks in decades.
The 2023-24 budget delivered $125 million in additional state funding for the Commonwealth’s roads and bridges. That funding has allowed the Shapiro Administration to repair 74 bridges and 6,531 miles of roads between January and November – approximately 100 miles ahead of the total Pennsylvania repaired in all 12 months last year.
Governor Shapiro secured $112 million in budget funding for an investment in state parks and forests infrastructure, the largest in decades, and launched Pennsylvania’s Office of Outdoor Recreation.
Read more about the Shapiro Administration’s actions to invest in Pennsylvania’s infrastructure and state parks:
Reopening I-95 in Just 12 Days
When I-95 collapsed on Sunday, June 11, experts told the Shapiro Administration that reopening the roadway would take months. Governor Shapiro and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Secretary Mike Carroll led an all-hands-on deck response – bringing local, state, and federal partners together with unions, contractors, and the private sector.
Crews worked around the clock – literally 24/7 – to demolish the damaged and collapsed highway, build an interim roadway, and reopen 6 lanes of traffic in each direction in just 12 days – months ahead of experts’ original predictions.
Read below for a timeline of the efforts the Shapiro Administration took to re-open I-95 in just 12 days:
- June 11: On the day of the collapse, Governor Shapiro was immediately briefed on the situation. Governor Shapiro then joined PennDOT Secretary Mike Carroll, the City of Philadelphia, and SEPTA to provide an update on the initial response to the I95 collapse. PennDOT personnel, including Secretary Carroll, were on site inspecting the roadway all day while the State Police were on the scene all day, assisting Philly Police in diverting traffic off I-95.
- June 12: The very next day, Governor Shapiro issued a proclamation of disaster emergency for Philadelphia County in response to the I-95 fire and collapse to cut through the red tape and provide Commonwealth agencies with the resources needed to repair I-95 safely and as efficiently as possible.
- After signing the proclamation, demolition immediately began and crews worked around the clock.
- June 13: U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg traveled to Philadelphia to visit and survey the incident of the site with PennDOT Secretary Mike Carroll. Governor Shapiro spoke to Secretary Buttigieg over the phone to update him on the Administration’s progress.
- June 14: Governor Shapiro, Secretary Carroll, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, U.S. Department of Transportation Under Secretary for Policy Carlos Monje, Ryan Boyer from the Philadelphia Building Trades Council, and contractors announced that the demolition of the damaged section of I-95 is expected to be complete that week – well ahead of schedule – and that the Administration, engineers, and contractors have developed a plan to safely and quickly reopen the roadway.
- June 15: As Governor Shapiro promised at the June 14 press conference, a 24/7 live feed of the construction site was set up “to chart our progress and give everyone a sense of timing as we move forward.” The same day, Governor ShapiroandPennDOT announced that the demolition of the damaged section of I-95 was complete – days ahead of schedule – as the Shapiro Administration coordinated directly with partners at the city, state, and federal levels.
- June 16: After the demolition was completed days ahead of schedule, crews began work on building the interim roadway. A base of foamed glass aggregate – from Delaware County-based AeroAggregates – was laid on the roadway to serve as the foundation as crews fill in the gap up to the surface level of I-95.
- June 17: Governor Shapiro joined President Biden for an aerial tour of the site, and then briefed the President on Pennsylvania’s around the clock work and coordination with federal officials to reopen the roadway safely and quickly.
- June 20: At a press conference at the site, Governor Shapiro announced that I-95 will reopen the following weekend, ahead of the originally projected two-week timeline. Thanks to the coordinated partnership of PennDOT, the Biden Administration, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the City of Philadelphia, and the hard work of the Philadelphia Building Trades, crews made fast progress to rebuild I-95 within two weeks of the collapse.
- June 23: Just 12 days after the collapse, Governor Shapiro and Secretary Carroll officially reopened six lanes of traffic on I-95, culminating a coordinated state, local, and federal response to reopen the roadway safely and as quickly as possible, and efforts were ahead of schedule each step of the way to get traffic flowing on I-95 again.
Repairing 74 Bridges and 6,531 Miles of Roads
- Governor Shapiro knows Pennsylvanians travel on our roads, bridges, and public transit systems every day to go to work, see friends and family, and explore the Commonwealth. The Governor is focused on fixing our essential infrastructure and supporting good-paying jobs.
- After delivering on his promise to free up approximately $125 million annually for Pennsylvania’s roads, bridges, and infrastructure needs from the Motor License Fund in the final 2023-24 budget, the Shapiro Administration fixed more than 6,531 miles of Pennsylvania roads, repaired 74 bridges, and put out more than 587 bridge repair projects to bid through the Department of Transportation (PennDOT).
Investing in State Parks and Establishing the First-Ever Office of Outdoor Recreation
- $112 million to improve our parks and forests and connect our natural resources and parks with local businesses and put Pennsylvania on the map as a leader in outdoor recreation.
- The budget investments in state parks and forests in the budget signed by Governor Shapiro will help address a $1.4 billion backlog of needed infrastructure work, ensuring Pennsylvania remains a premier destination for outdoor recreation.
- Governor Shapiro and DCNR Secretary Cindy Adams Dunn also launched Pennsylvania’s Office of Outdoor Recreation. The new office will grow the state’s outdoor sector, which adds $14 billion to Pennsylvania’s economy and accounts for 152,000 jobs. By establishing this office, Pennsylvania becomes the largest state, by both economy and population, with an Office of Outdoor Recreation.
- Governor Shapiro believes that Pennsylvania is home to some of the best state parks in the country – and he fought to secured budget funding to support the local business and economy in and around our state parks to ensure the outdoor recreation industry continues to be an important part of Pennsylvania’s economy.
Last week, PennDOT announced that Pennsylvania will receive $143 million through Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail (FSP-National) grant program and the Corridor Identification and Development (Corridor ID) program to support the expansion of passenger rail along the Keystone West corridor between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh and the Keystone line in Scranton and Reading. To support these expanded passenger operations, the Commonwealth will invest more than $200 million in infrastructure and safety improvements, which will now be partially offset by this federal investment.
The Shapiro Administration will continue to build infrastructure that will connect our communities, spur economic development, and create opportunity for generations to come.
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