CSP: Walt Whitman Interchange

Summary of Study Challenges

  • Provide missing interstate-to-interstate connections
  • Minimizing impacts on adjacent properties
  • Maintain local connections to major attractions
  • Preserving DRPA ballfields as an important South Philly community resource
  • Ongoing coordination between the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA) and PennDOT
  • Access to the Port and Stadium District using Front Street and Packer Avenue

Interchange: Design Concepts

Three different levels of design concepts were developed for the Walt Whitman Interchange that balance the study’s needs, the extent of potential impacts, and potential costs.

We have defined each design concept as LOW, MEDIUM, and HIGH.

Each design concept presents a different solution and potential tradeoffs on the surrounding safety, traffic, connectivity, multimodal services, and socioeconomic, cultural, and natural resources.

Video of Design Concepts

Walt Whitman Interchange: Low Impact Design Concept

Walt Whitman Interchange: Medium Impact Design Concept

Walt Whitman Interchange: High Impact Design Concept

Impacts on Safety and Congestion

Safety Challenges

  • Shoulder Widths: Existing shoulder widths are below modern safety design standards.
  • Merging Lanes: The length of ramp merging lanes is below modern safety design standards. These conditions impact safety in the corridor.

Congestion Challenges

  • Highway Lanes: Congestion will continue to get worse by 2045. The Walt Whitman Bridge pier locations allow for only three lanes on I-95 in each direction with full shoulders.
  • I-76 Ramps: Traffic analysis indicates that many ramps along I-76 in the interchange area are congested as the local street network provides many of the connections between I-95, I-76, and, destinations in South Philadelphia


Connectivity and Multimodal Services

Connectivity Challenges

  • Lacking Movements: Several interstate-to-interstate movements are lacking from the existing interchange configuration. The lacking movements include direct access from eastbound I-76 to I-95 and I-95 to westbound I-76.
  • Local Street Access: Lacking movements require local roadways to complete the transfer of traffic, increasing local road congestion, travel times, and driver confusion.

Multimodal Challenges

  • Pedestrian/Bicycle: Limited through streets and existing highway ramps hinder safe access for pedestrians and bikes on Front and 7th streets.
  • Freight Movement: Higher than average percentage of trucks and freight traffic due to the proximity to PhilaPort and other industrial uses.

Socioeconomic, Cultural, Natural Resources

Socioeconomic Challenges

  • Economic Growth: The Navy Yard, PhilaPort, and Stadium District are regionally significant economic drivers that have planned growth that will impact traffic needs.

Cultural Challenges

  • Social Resources: Well-used athletic fields on Delaware River Port Authority land near Packer Ave and 7th Street.

Natural Resource Challenges

  • Wetlands: Proximity of wetlands to the Walt Whitman Interchange.
  • Floodplains/Emergency Management: Land adjacent to the Walt Whitman interchange is in the 100-year floodplain and susceptible to flooding during major storm events.