I-76 Viaduct Repairs
The Schuylkill Expressway/I-76 is the Philadelphia region’s major east-west expressway, connecting commuters from the western suburbs and South Jersey with Center City Philadelphia, the University City area, the Sports Complex, several area hospitals and all points in between.
Under this project (SR 76, Section SRE), PennDOT in 2019 and 2020 is repairing the long, deteriorated viaduct that carries the Schuylkill Expressway/I-76 along the west bank of the Schuylkill River in Center City, from Arch Street just west of 30th Street to the CSX bridge near the University Avenue exit. A smaller structure over Route 23/Conshohocken State Road east of the Conshohocken/I-476 Interchange in Montgomery County also is being repaired.
The 6,120 foot-long Center City structure consists of 289 spans (the distance between support piers) of reinforced concrete pavement slabs. It was built in 1958. The bridge in Conshohocken, built in the early 1960s, consists of two spans of reinforced concrete pavement slabs. Both viaducts were significantly rehabilitated in 1985 during PennDOT’s Schuylkill Expressway Reconstruction Project.
While the current rehabilitation project does not include replacement of either structure’s concrete deck — a lengthy demolition and reconstruction process that would create significant travel impacts across the region — PennDOT is making a number of significant repairs to the decks and structural components of these important structures.
These repairs are necessary now in order to guarantee the continues safe passage of traffic on this heavily-traveled expressway.
Travel During Construction
The Schuylkill Expressway/I-76 in the Center City project area carries 130,000 vehicles a day (Average Daily Traffic) on two lanes in each direction. Because the eastbound and westbound sides of the viaduct is only 26 feet-wide in some areas, repairs will require closing one of those lanes in either direction, along with certain ramps, overnights and on weekends. In addition, certain repairs require that either the eastbound or westbound side be completely closed at certain times, though not at the same time.
PennDOT has engineered this project so that the full closure of either the eastbound or westbound expressway in Philadelphia is limited. But the full extent of the structural deterioration cannot be known until the existing riding surface is removed. Even then, there will be full closures in either the eastbound or westbound direction on at least 20 specific weekends in 2019 or 2020.
Repairs to the viaduct in Conshohocken will require at least 20 overnight or weekend left or right lane closures in either or both directions, but no full closures of the expressway.
Go here for the detailed Construction Schedule.
PennDOT will publicize all planned lane restrictions and closures in advance through the region’s news media. These announcements also will be emailed directly to those who subscribe to the project’s email service. Go here to Subscribe to receive emails about this project directly from PennDOT or to Contact Us.