Closed Section of I-95 in Pa. Reopens

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- A three-mile stretch of Interstate 95 reopened Thursday morning after being shut down for more than two days while crews conducted emergency repairs on a cracked support column.

With the roadway repaired, PennDOT will design and install a new pillar, spokesman Charles Metzger said.

"Time is on our side, so we can design a proper fix, and make sure it is something that can last well into the future," he said.

The work caused massive delays for motorists on the major East Coast artery as crews worked to shore up the fractured concrete pillar. The road reopened around 6:30 a.m., in time for the morning rush hour on a highway that carries about 190,000 vehicles a day.

Heavy salt trucks were driven across the shored up area before the road reopened, then parked on it to test the stability of the repair. A Pennsylvania Department of Transportation supervisor then gave the order to reopen the road.

The section of highway had been closed since around midnight Monday, hours after a structural engineer discovered a 6-foot crack in the 15-foot tall column.

Eight steel plates known as "stiffeners" were welded to the beams under the elevated highway, PennDOT spokesman Gene Blaum said. Then, on Thursday morning, sixteen jacks were used to lift the load of the elevated highway deck off the damaged concrete pillar.

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