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Construction Update

Cottman Avenue Interchange Construction Update: Fall 2016

Sep 26, 2016

Northbound Reconstruction Finishes, Work Shifts to the Center

Reconstruction and widening of Interstate 95 at the Cottman Avenue Interchange in Northeast Philadelphia finished in late 2016 when mainline construction wrapped up between the Cottman Avenue and Bridge Street interchanges.

Current construction at Cottman Avenue is begin done under PennDOT’s $212 million project to improve the interchange and rebuild and widen 1.4 miles of I-95 between Rhawn Street and Levick Street. At the time of its letting, the $212,325,000 contract was the largest single construction contract in PennDOT history.

Crews spent most of the summer and the first few weeks of fall finishing work on the northbound side of seven new bridges and placing new pavement between the bridges. The new I-95 pavement consists of 14-inches of ‘long-life’ concrete placed over an asphalt base.

After removing the temporary pavement that was in place that allowed the center section of I-95 to carry northbound traffic during reconstruction of the northbound lanes, crews this fall are constructing the new northbound inside shoulder and installing the new concrete median barrier/glare screen. Precast barrier is being installed between the work area’s seven bridges. On the bridges, median barrier will be poured in place.

Mainline I-95 construction on the Cottman Avenue Interchange project is expected to be completed in early winter 2017, substantially wrapping up work on the interstate between Cottman Avenue and Bridge Street and providing I-95 motorists with four lanes each way between the interchanges.

In addition to completing northbound paving, crews also will finish reconstruction of the on-ramp to I-95 north from Princeton Avenue and the off-ramp from I-95 north to Cottman Avenue. The improvements to the northbound ramps compliment similar improvements to the off-and on-ramps on the southbound side that were completed during an earlier stage of the project.

New northbound and southbound bridges are now in place over Bleigh Avenue, Cottman Avenue, Princeton Avenue, New State Road, Longshore Avenue, Unruh Avenue, and Magee Avenue. Crews are now focused on constructing new curbs and sidewalks, completing installation of LED (light emitting diode) lighting and repaving the roads where they pass under I-95.

The new bridges have decorative abutment walls depicting various icons that define the adjacent neighborhoods. The ornamental walls and LED lighting are part of the quality-of-life enhancements included in the reconstruction project. These enhancements were included in the new bridges’ designs as the result of interaction between PennDOT and the community through its I-95 Sustainable Action Committee (SAC) that met during the project’s planning phase. Similar SAC-driven enhancements are being included in all of the remaining projects to reconstruct I-95 between the Cottman Avenue and Girard Avenue interchanges.

The new bridge over Princeton Avenue at the on-ramp to I-95 north is longer than the old span to cover an extension of Princeton Avenue that runs along side the on-ramp as a barrier-separated, eastbound only road that will connect Torresdale Avenue with Milnor Street. The extension will be paved this fall following installation of a storm sewer line.

As mainline work shifts into its final stage, ground-level work continues on the west side of I-95 between Cottman and Princeton Avenues for relocation of a large water main in the area once occupied by a section of Wissinoming Street. Once the water line is installed and functioning in a complex operation that will extend into 2017, the old main will be removed and a new sewer main will be installed in its place. A new on-ramp to I-95 south from Cottman Avenue will be built following completion of the water/sewer work.

When median work finishes in early winter, motorists will find construction barriers gone and four lanes available in each direction between the Cottman Avenue and Bridge Street interchanges.

The first phase of reconstruction of I-95 at the Cottman Avenue Interchange began in fall 2009. This second and final phase started in late 2012.

Walsh Construction Company of Canonsburg, Pa. is the general contractor.