What to Know
- A 6,120-foot-long stretch of Schuylkill Expressway viaduct in Philadelphia and a 345-foot-long viaduct in Montco need to be rehabilitated.
- Starting April 4, temporary overnight lane closures will begin in Philly so preparations can be made to repair the roadway.
- The total $39.8-million repair project will be done in four phases with an end date late in 2020.
A nearly $40-million project to repair deteriorated bridge spans along the busy Schuylkill Expressway is underway and it could be affecting your drive well into next year.
The rehabilitation project of the Interstate 76 viaducts, or bridges, in two parts of the highway started with temporary lane closures coming to a more than 1-mile stretch of I-76 in Philadelphia began Thursday night.
The I-76 Viaduct Repair project to rehabilitate the deteriorating four-lane roadways will take place in four phases over two years and will require single-lane, or even full-lane, closures as well as weekend closures, PennDOT said.
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The rehab project includes work on the 6,120-foot-long stretch of I-76 along the Schuylkill River from the Arch Street rail bridge to University Avenue in Philadelphia and a 345-foot long structure over Route 23 and Arrowmink Creek in West Conshohocken, Montgomery County, officials said.
“Pennsylvania’s ongoing bridge inspection program has been closely monitoring these heavily-used, 60-plus year-old structures to ensure that they continue to function as designed,” Gov.Tom Wolf said. “Their analysis of the hundreds of structural components that comprise each viaduct points to the need to address the inevitable deterioration now so as to safely handle the demands of tens of thousands of motorists who use the Schuylkill Expressway each day.”
The project by contractor J.D. Eckman, Inc. of Atglen, Chester County, is estimated to cost nearly $39.8 million.
Stage 1, with I-76 eastbound closures in Philadelphia, begins in April and is expected to last into July. PennDOT hopes to complete the second stage of eastbound reconstruction of the 289-span viaduct by the end of the year.
Before Stage 1 begins, the contractor will work on both the eastbound and westbound sides of I-76 Thursday through Sunday in Philadelphia to clear draining inlets and complete surveying of the roadway, PennDOT said.
- Thursday, April 4, through Sunday, April 7, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. the following morning: Eastbound I-76 will be reduced to a single lane between the I-676 and University Avenue interchanges.
- Thursday, April 11, through Sunday, April 14, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. the following morning: Alternating eastbound or westbound single lane closures will reduce I-76 to one lane between the I-676 and University Avenue interchanges.
- No on- or off-ramps within the work zone are scheduled to be closed during these preliminary construction activities.
Closures in Montgomery County won’t start until May at the earliest.
“Repairs to the structure in West Conshohocken Borough are expected to begin in May or June 2019 and will be completed by November 2019,” PennDOT said. “These repairs will be done using single lane overnight closures seven days a week between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m.
Once the initial work is done in Philly, more extensive lanes closures, including periods where the road will be closed entirely at night, can be expected.
During repairs to the Center City structure, one side of the expressway at a time will be reduced to a single lane or closed completely overnight. In addition, one side of the expressway at a time will be reduced to a single lane during weekend daytime hours a minimum of 10 times eastbound (in 2019) and 10 times westbound (2020) on non-holiday and select weekends.
Allowable times for these restrictions on I-76 are as follows:
- Weekday Nighttime Single Lane Closures Eastbound or Westbound: Monday nights through Friday mornings: 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
- Weekday Nighttime Full Closures Eastbound or Westbound: Monday nights through Friday mornings: 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.
- Weekend Nighttime Single Lane Closures Eastbound or Westbound: Friday nights through Sunday mornings: 9 p.m. to 10 a.m. and Sunday nights through Monday mornings: 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
- Weekend Daytime Single Lane Closures Eastbound*: Saturday mornings at 10 a.m. to Saturday nights at 10 p.m. and Sunday mornings at 10 a.m. to Sunday nights at 9 p.m.
- Weekend Nighttime Full Closures Eastbound**: Friday nights at 11 p.m. through Saturday mornings at 10 a.m., Saturday nights at 10 p.m. through Sunday mornings at 10 a.m. and Sunday nights at 9 p.m. through Monday mornings at 5 a.m.
- Weekend Daytime Single Lane Closures Westbound*: Saturday mornings at 10 a.m. to Saturday nights at 10 p.m. and Sunday mornings at 10 a.m. to Sunday nights at 11 p.m.
- Weekend Nighttime Full Closures Westbound**: Friday nights at 11 p.m. through Saturday mornings at 10 a.m., Saturday nights at 10 p.m. through Sunday mornings at 10 a.m. and Sunday nights at 11 p.m. through Monday mornings at 5 a.m.
* Maximum allowable weekend daytime single lane closures is 10 times eastbound and 10 times westbound.
** Anticipated weekend overnight full closures is 10 times eastbound and 10 times westbound.
Overnight right lane and shoulder closures also may occur on the westbound side throughout 2019 and 2020 for construction activities to repair support columns on the underside of the viaduct.
In addition, on- and off-ramps within the Center City work zone will be closed and detoured in coordination with the scheduled lane restrictions and full closures. Ramps that will be impacted include:
- University Avenue/Exit 346B Westbound On Ramp
- University Avenue/Exit 346B Eastbound Off Ramp
- South Street/Exit 346 Eastbound On Ramp
- South Street/Exit 346A Westbound On Ramp
- South Street/Exit 346A Westbound Off Ramp
- South Street/Exit 346A Eastbound Off Ramp
- Walnut Street/Exit 345 Eastbound On Ramp
- I-676/Vine Street Expressway/Exit 344 Westbound Off Ramp
NBC10 will continue to monitor the viaduct reconstruction project through the end of 2020.