October 14, 2023 – Work at the Interstate 95 Bridge Street Interchange for the remainder of the year will remain focused on construction of a retaining wall along the northbound lanes of I-95 (see right) and relocating numerous street-level utilities on surface streets surrounding the interchange.
Crew working generally south-to-north in the right-of-way alongside northbound I-95 continue grading, assembling the wall’s face panels, and backfilling behind the panels to eventually bring the entire wall structure up to the level of the interstate. The graded area, which will extend from south of the interchange through the north side of the viaduct over Bridge and Tacony streets, will be paved for use as northbound travel lanes during reconstruction of the southbound side of the viaduct.
Major construction to demolish and replace the southbound outer section of the viaduct is expected to begin in early 2024. A temporary traffic pattern will shift six lanes of traffic — three northbound, three southbound — to the east and will remain in place for several years until the southbound section is completed. The traffic pattern will then shift to the west side of the viaduct for demolition and construction of the outer northbound side of the structure. Test caissons were drilled at the site of the new viaduct in advance of construction (see below).
New utilities were installed at James Street earlier in the year and the contractor is now constructing a new roadway between Fraley and Carver streets.
Also taking place this fall includes the installation of PECO and Verizon utilities, along with intersection improvements taking place on Bridge Street. Support for excavation for the temporary northbound widening is also taking place along Tacony Street.
The northbound I-95 off-ramp to Bridge Street (Exit 27) was permanently closed in April 2023 for construction of the retaining wall (see below). Off-ramp traffic is now exiting at the Betsy Ross Bridge Interchange and following Aramingo Avenue north back to Bridge Street.
The existing ramp from Bridge Street will remain open until summer 2025. Section BS2 will relocate the northbound on-ramp and the southbound off-ramp that currently exits at James Street to a single point on Tacony Street near relocated Carver Street.
PennDOT earlier this year completed Section BS1 reconstruction to rebuild and widen the I-95 pavement between Levick Street and Carver Street.
Section BS2 is the second of five contracts to reconstruct the interstate and improve the interchange at Bridge Street. In addition to replacing the long viaduct, Section BS2 will reconstruct I-95 between Margaret Street and Carver Street, replace the bridges over Fraley Street and Carver Street, relocate the James Street off-ramp, and construct a new on-ramp to I-95 north from Tacony Street and the Delaware Avenue extension. The Section BS2 contract is valued at $268 million.
During all upcoming work on Section BS2, three travel lanes in each direction will remain open during peak travel times, though periodic off-peak lane closures may be in place on I-95 during certain stages of construction operations. However, a number of different traffic patterns will be in place on the surface streets at the interchange (Bridge Street, Tacony Street, Aramingo Avenue) during BS2 construction.
Section BS2 is scheduled to be completed in late 2026.
Motorists are advised to allow extra time for travel through all I-95 work areas.
James J. Anderson Construction, of Philadelphia, is the general contractor on Section BS2.