Pocono Raceway’s ‘jet drier’ credited with keeping I-95’s reopening on time

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A rainy weekend threatened to delay the reopening of a collapsed section of Interstate 95 in Philadelphia. But officials called in reinforcements: a giant jet dryer from a nearby race track, according to BillyPenn. The dryer is expected to ensure the highway opens this weekend as promised by PA Governor Josh Shapiro.

The jet dryer, used to prevent wet tracks at nearby Pocono Raceway, consists of a modified helicopter turbine attached to the back of a Chevy Silverado. PA Transportation Secretary Mike Carroll, who had worked with racetrack officials when he held office in the area, knew who to call when stormy conditions threatened to delay the reopening. “We’ve known Mr. Carroll for a number of years, he was a representative here in Northeast Pennsylvania,” said Ricky Durst, Pocono Raceway senior marketing director. “He knew the raceway well, knew that we often had to deal with weather circumstances during our events, and knows that we have the ability and the tools to dry asphalt.” The track also reportedly brought a Chevy Camaro pace car to the scene, although its utility during the asphalt drying is less clear.

Last night, workers paved the six-lane segment reconnecting the highway around the collapsed section ahead of the planned weekend reopening. The jet dryer’s arrival should be welcome news for Shapiro, who said yesterday, “I can confidently state right here, right now, that traffic will be flowing here on I-95 this weekend… We have completed every phase of this project safely and way ahead of schedule.” A section of the overpass collapsed last weekend when a tanker truck exploded in flames underneath, killing the driver and closing traffic for the entire workweek.

Meanwhile, Twitch streamer Brent Schooley saw an opportunity for fun as area residents eyed the I-95 reconstruction progress. The Philadelphia-based software developer began broadcasting a live view of the work — accompanied by LoFi beats. Schooley told the Philadelphia Inquirer that he started his “FIX THAT JAWN!” stream to provide a much-needed “chatroom for memes” as people check in on the progress. Although some people speculated it was a clever youth-outreach move from the Governor’s PR team, the project arose organically. “It’s another example of how this has truly taken a life of its own,” said Manuel Bonder, press secretary for Gov. Shapiro.

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