I-95 fully reopened in Philly after 2023 bridge collapse

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Trucking news and briefs for Monday, May 27, 2024:

I-95 in Philadelphia fully reopened less than an year after bridge collapse

At an event Thursday, May 23, Pennsylvania officials announced the completion of permanent repairs to I-95 in northeast Philadelphia less than a year after a deadly tanker truck crash caused a fire and collapse of an interstate bridge.

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Secretary Mike Carroll was joined by Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt and other officials to commemorate the completion of the repairs. All lanes on I-95 in the area opened to traffic Friday morning, May 24, as well as one lane on the newly constructed ramp from northbound I-95 to Cottman Avenue.

Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro and Carroll led a coordinated state, local, and federal response to reopen the roadway safely and as quickly as possible, the state said, and efforts were ahead of schedule each step of the way to get traffic flowing on I-95 again. A temporary roadway with six lanes of traffic opened on June 23, 2023, only 12 days after the initial fire and collapse. 

The new bridge and ramp replace the ones that were destroyed in a June 11, 2023, tanker truck crash and fire. I-95 traffic was restored to three lanes of traffic in each direction after a temporary roadway was constructed in the center of the interstate in just 12 days. The outer sections on the northbound and southbound sides of the bridge were then rebuilt before I-95 traffic was shifted from the temporary center lanes, onto the completed, outer sections of the new bridge last November.

When both lanes of the northbound ramp to Cottman Avenue are complete, it will feature enhanced traffic safety measures, such as new signage and High Friction Surface Treatment (HFST). HFST is a treatment added to the top of a road surface that creates more friction on the pavement, helping keep vehicles in their lane and improving stopping distance around curves or other locations where wet pavement may contribute to crashes. HFST is a Federal Highway Administration Every Day Counts innovation that PennDOT has implemented across Pennsylvania, with data showing that the treatment decreases fatal and injury crashes where it is installed.

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[Related: Truck driver in I-95 bridge collapse lost control before crash, NTSB says]

Five arrested in multi-state pump skimming, diesel theft ring

An investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and several Florida law enforcement agencies has resulted in the arrest of five individuals for their alleged participation in a multi-state gas pump skimming device conspiracy involving the theft of diesel fuel.

A press release from U.S. Attorney Roger B. Handberg in the Middle District of Florida states the five arrested allegedly worked together, and with others, to place skimmers on gas pumps in north Florida and other states. Using the account numbers stolen by the skimmers, they made counterfeit credit and debit cards, then used them to primarily purchase diesel fuel.

Utilizing vehicles with a bladder/container to pump the fraudulently purchased diesel fuel into, the conspirators would offload the stolen fuel into containers at a fuel yard, court documents allege. The stolen fuel was then allegedly sold to a gas station associated with one of the co-conspirators.

The five arrested were:

  • Luis Edel Trujillo Pena, 29, Miami
  • Deyvis Hernandez, 37, Miami
  • Luis Ernesto Vigil Ochoa, 32, Miami
  • Isvaldo Guerra Perdomo, 38, Jacksonville
  • Deonelky Tabares Cid, 36, Tampa

They were each charged with conspiracy, four counts of wire fraud, 15 counts of access device fraud, and three counts of aggravated identity theft. 

If convicted, each faces up to 20 years in federal prison for each count of wire fraud, up to 10 for each count of device fraud, five on the conspiracy count, a minimum mandatory penalty of 2 years for each identity theft count, and payment of restitution to the victims.

The case was investigated by the FBI, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Florida Highway Patrol, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, U.S. General Services Administration -- Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Secret Service -- Jacksonville Field Office.