June 20 — Over the weekend, PA Governor Josh Shapiro has pledged to have Interstate 95, outside of Philadelphia, opened again in two weeks.
A bridge collapsed last weekend, halting traffic in a major corridor up and down the east coast.
There’s apparently a 24/7 webcam to watch what’s going on with the highway in real time.
Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM wondered, “I don’t know, two weeks seems awfully too short. Not two years, maybe two months, but two weeks. That’s very aggressive here and it has me a little worried.”
Attorney Clint Barkdoll said, “No one was predicting it could be done this quickly, myself included when this first happened. All of the reporting was it would take many months. I made the observation that due to just union red tape in Philadelphia, that would delay the project by months. It’s not clear what happened here. Over the weekend, Governor Shapiro, he vaguely or generally said that he met with unions, he met with the different stakeholders, they all got their heads together and figured this out. He has gone out and pledged that it will be open within two weeks, which just seems like an extraordinarily quick turnaround to get that done, even with a 24/7 crew.”
Tons and tons of shredded glass was brought in to build this.
Barkdoll explained, “Apparently that’s a new technique used in construction and engineers are saying that it’s perfectly safe and certainly if they do get this done within the next two weeks, structural engineers and other experts are going to have to sign off on this and certify the safety of it. So it’s pretty extraordinary.”
If this does end up coming to fruition in that amount of time, it truly begs the question: why do all the other projects take so long?
Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM said, “That’s the most interesting aspect coming out of this. People are gonna watch this and they’re gonna say, wait a minute. Why are all of our bridges collapsing here in Pennsylvania? We keep hearing that and for years, we kept trying to get money and things put towards it, and then they did get some money and there’s this ongoing ranking of which bridges need to be done first. I think it’s going to make a lot of people look askance at how long it takes to get these other road projects done and say, wait, you’re showing us you can actually do it if you put your mind to it and be more efficient.”
Barkdoll noted, “Here’s another just curious aspect of this to me from a taxpayer standpoint. During those press conferences over the weekend, President Biden revealed that the first up to 200 days of this project — now obviously, it’s not going to take that long — is completely being paid for and reimbursed by the federal government. So even though these are PennDOT, and union resources being used out there, it sounds like it’s not going to cost Pennsylvania a dime. It’s all coming out of the federal budget. I’m not sure how that came about. That seems like just an extraordinary concession or gift, if you will, that the federal government is making to the state of Pennsylvania.”