Travel was blocked in both directions after a section of Interstate 95 (I-95) collapsed Sunday following a large vehicle fire that broke out beneath an overpass in Philadelphia. Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro cautioned it would take “months” to repair the interstate, but can mobile auto glass technicians wait that long?
Gridlock in ‘The City of Brotherly Love’
“Yesterday, I’m on Broad Street,” says Otto Hernandez, owner and founder of Otto Glass LLC in Philadelphia. “The street was hectic with accidents left and right. It’s four lanes wide, but it’s straight. Everyone was getting into accidents. It’s affecting schools, everyone getting to work and everyone getting to their [auto glass] installs. Everything is postponed.”
Broad Street is a major street in Philadelphia that runs for approximately 13 miles. Its carnage is a byproduct of I-95’s inability to funnel drivers through their daily commutes. Gov. Shapiro said that the source of the fire and collapse was a commercial truck believed to be carrying petroleum-based products. The blaze brought down an entire section of northbound lanes, per CBS News. The tanker was holding 8,500 gallons of gasoline when it caught fire, according to the U.S. Coast Guard and reported by CBS Philadelphia.
For Hernandez, whose business is 90% mobile, the crisis poses major problems.
“I’ve had to take alternative routes. It’s taking me longer to get where I need to go. Luckily, I’ve been in this city long enough to maneuver. But it takes me longer because the highway cuts time in half,” he says.
“[The city] was just completing certain portions of construction, and now this happens. It’s a major setback. It will take at least two years for this thing to get back up and running,” explains Hernandez.
Hernandez adds that his first customer on Tuesday refused to bring her vehicle to his shop due to the lengthy travel times associated with the I-95 collapse, which caused Gov. Shapiro to issue a proclamation of disaster emergency. But Hernandez remains confident in his ability to navigate the challenges ahead.
“I’ve got to take alternative routes,” he says. “You’ve got to adapt. The most successful entrepreneurs adapt. If you can maneuver around chaos, you’ll be fine.”