The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has closed a 2-mile stretch of Interstate 95 in Philadelphia due to severe damage of a steel-reinforced concrete column
that supports the center portion of the expressway between the Girard Avenue and Allegheny Avenue interchanges.
PennDOT District Executive Lester C. Toaso said I-95 will reopen in a few days, as soon as crews erect four steel support towers next to the damaged 15-foot high column. Work began Tuesday morning, and the contractor is working around the clock to install the new support system under I-95.
A bridge inspector discovered a large crack (2 inches wide, 6 feet long) in the support column late Monday afternoon while making a follow-up stop at the location. This elevated section of I-95, where Richmond Street passes underneath the interstate between the intersections of Ann and Cambria streets, was inspected last October.
The closure affects both north- and south-bound traffic. Large trucks traveling on I-95 will be detoured over Interstate 676 (Exit 22), Interstate 76, Route 1/Roosevelt Boulevard and Route 63/Woodhaven Road (35). Route 291 is another alternative to I-676. Truck traffic can follow Route 291 to I-76 West and then use Route 1 (Roosevelt Boulevard) North to Route 63 East (Woodhaven Road) to return to I-95.
The following ramps to I-95 also will be closed during the emergency interstate closure. They are the:
• I-676 East ramp to I-95 North
• Lombard Street ramp to I-95 North
• Girard Avenue ramp to I-95 North
• Race Street ramp to I-95 North
• Allegheny Avenue ramp to I-95 South
• Betsy Ross Bridge ramp to I-95 South
• Bridge Street ramp to I-95 South
PennDOT will start construction later this year on a project to make structural repairs at several locations along I-95 in Philadelphia, and this particular column was to be repaired under this project. This part of I-95 was built in the 1960s and is scheduled to undergo a complete reconstruction starting in about five years. It carries approximately 180,000 vehicles a day.