Many DelVal residents, especially Bucks County residents, will be looking for other ways to get to work in Philadelphia with the sudden closure Sunday of I-95 after a fire caused the northbound lanes to collapse near the Cottman Avenue exit.

The interstate is a major north-south link for the East Coast.

A tanker carrying a petroleum product caught on fire on Princeton Avenue underneath the highway around 6:20 a.m., officials said. About 160,000 vehicles travel I-95 daily through Philadelphia, said PennDOT Secretary Mike Carroll. Vehicles will be detouring around the collapse, which has the highway closed in both directions.

Gov. Josh Shapiro held a press conference Sunday and said he will be declaring a disaster so that federal funds will be freed up to rebuild the highway and expedite the reconstruction process.

At least one vehicle was still trapped underneath the collapsed roadway, he said.

“Preliminary reports indicate that a commercial truck carrying a petroleum-based product was the source of the fire,” said Shapiro. “We’re still working to identify any individual or individuals who may have been caught in the fire and the collapse.”

Both the state police and Philadelphia police have been diverting traffic around the area, he said. The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) has also been on site, coordinating response efforts. Also, the Department of Environmental Protection has been coordinating with the U.S. Coast Guard and the Philadelphia Water Department doing environmental assessments, Shapiro said.

The intense fire damaged the southbound side of the highway and engineers determined it was not structurally sound. They are also looking for interim solutions, Shapiro said.

A complete rebuild will take “some number of months,” said Shapiro. Ironically, this section of the interstate only reopened not long ago after major reconstruction for a new Cottman Avenue off-ramp.

Shapiro spoke with U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Bob Casey Congressman Brendan Boyle (D-Philadelphia) and other federal officials.

“Secretary Buttigieg has assured me that there will be absolutely no delay in getting federal funds deployed to quickly help us rebuild this critical artery,” said Shapiro.

Shapiro said it will be “all hands on deck to repair this as safely and efficiently as possible.”

Bucks County resident Paul Martino, who owns Bankroll, a new sports bar in Center City Philadelphia, said, “I am out of town right now, but I am sure it will be a mess.”

Amanda Cortes, a Fairless Hills resident who teaches first grade at Lawton Elementary in Philadelphia is glad there are only two more days until the summer break because she’ll be taking alternate routes and she’s sure traffic will be bad.

“It’s just going to be extra traffic, I assume, with the closure and everything,” said Cortes. She does not think they’ll have the highway open when the new school year starts in September.

“I doubt it,” said Cortes. “I’m already anticipating the beginning of the school year to continue taking the detour because I can’t see it getting fixed that quickly.”

Maryann Brown, a pharmacist who lives in Warminster and works at a pharmacy in northeast Philadelphia, said, “All the back roads like State Road and Frankfort Avenue will be busy. People now will have to take the train or leave early for work. The pharmacy’s delivery service will be affected. With prices going up and gas going up, stress will increase.”

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney told people to plan alternate routes.

“City agencies are working with our state partners to respond to the partial collapse of I-95 from a vehicle fire. Please avoid the area and plan for alternative routes of travel. We will continue to provide updates on this incident,” said Kenney. “I want to thank our first responders, PennDOT, SEPTA, and all our state and local partners for your continued response to this incident. And thank you, Gov. Shapiro, for coming to Philadelphia and for your continued support. Coordination between state, city agencies, and elected officials, has been, and will continue to be essential to our emergency response effort as well as with recovery and reconstruction.”

PennDOT has detour routes in place in the area:

I-95 Southbound: Route 63 West (Woodhaven Road), U.S. 1 South, 76 East, 676 East and I-95 Northbound: I-676 West, I-76 West, U.S. 1 North to Route 63 East (Woodhaven Road), as well as other information.

Bus routes in that area will also be impacted.

“This emergency has created a tremendous challenge for our transportation network. SEPTA is committed to working with the city and the state to help our residents get through this,” said SEPTA General Manager and CEO Leslie S. Richards. “We are working hard to ensure that SEPTA is providing reliable service on Regional Rail, the Market-Frankford Line, buses and other transit services. We will monitor service and make adjustments as we move forward, so please check for the latest updates at and @SEPTA.”