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Accelerated Construction Schedule to Complete I-676 Bridges Project a Year Early

posted Nov 4, 2016, 6:17 AM by David Cardy   [ updated Nov 4, 2016, 6:48 AM ]
November 3, 2016 -- The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) today announced that work will begin Monday, November 7, to replace the 22nd Street and 21st Street bridges over Interstate 676 in Philadelphia. PennDOT is advancing the start of construction on the two spans in order to complete the $64.8 million project to replace seven bridges over I-676 a year ahead of schedule.

“Advancing the start of construction on the 22nd and 21st street bridges by eight months saves considerable time on the back end and enables the entire infrastructure improvement project to finish much earlier than anticipated,” said George Dunheimer, P.E., PennDOT’s Assistant District Executive for Construction.

“The plan was to replace four bridges over I-676 in stage one, which began last year, and three bridges in stage two, which is scheduled to start in July. However, we conducted a study that revealed no adverse traffic flow impacts within the project area by advancing the start of the 22nd and 21st street bridges,” Dunheimer added.

PennDOT will keep two lanes of traffic open on the 22nd Street and 21st Street bridges throughout their reconstruction by rebuilding both bridges one half at a time. Both bridges are expected to be completed in fall 2018.

The two bridges are part of PennDOT’s project to replace seven structurally deficient bridges over I-676 between 22nd Street and 18th Street, and to make landscaping and streetscape improvements above the expressway. Construction began in April 2015 and the project is now scheduled to finish in November 2018, instead of November 2019.

Crews will work from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM on Monday, November 7, to restripe travel lanes and move two lanes of northbound traffic on 22nd Street to the east side of the structure. They also will begin initial preparatory on the 21st Street bridge to close the east sidewalk and parking lane. Once preparations are complete in late November, the contractor will shift traffic to the east side of the 21st Street bridge and begin reconstruction of the western half of the structure. Additional work may be performed on both bridges next week between 9:00 AM and 3:00 PM to finalize the traffic pattern changes.

A sidewalk on the 22nd Street overpass will remain open to pedestrians during all phases of construction. The narrow width of the 21st Street bridge does not provide space for a sidewalk to remain open during construction. Pedestrians on 21st Street will be directed to pedestrian crossings on 22nd Street or to 20th Street/Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Parking on the 22nd Street and 21st Street overpasses will be eliminated during construction.

I-676 will be closed and detoured periodically during overnight hours while the 22nd Street and 21st Street bridges are under construction.

Similar to the five other bridges that PennDOT is replacing over I-676 under this project, the new 22nd Street and 21st Street bridges will be single-span structures, which eliminates the need for piers in the center of I-676. The existing center piers will be removed.

In addition to these two spans, PennDOT is currently building new pedestrian bridges at the Free Library and former Family Court building, and new structures on 19th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway/20th Street over I-676. Construction on the 18th Street bridge over I-676 is scheduled to start in mid-2017 and finish in mid-2018. The 18th Street bridge will be closed during construction.

PennDOT’s contractor is currently rebuilding the western-most section of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway/20th Street structure. Construction of the new Benjamin Franklin Parkway/20th Street bridge is being performed in phases and is scheduled to finish in June 2017.

The new 19th Street bridge over I-676 is scheduled to be completed and opened in late 2016.

The two new pedestrian crossings at the Free Library and former Family Court building are expected to open in June 2017, following the completion of improvements to the public spaces at each crossing.

PennDOT and its general contractor, Buckley & Company, Inc. of Philadelphia, worked out the revised construction schedule. The new accelerated schedule will not change the cost of the $64,836,180 project, which is financed with 100 percent federal funds.

For more information on the I-676 project, visit

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