Improving I-95 Mobility with PennDOT
The reconstruction of I-95 presented an exciting opportunity for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) to reimagine one of the nation’s most critical highways with a complete corridors approach. The roadway bisects communities, isolating neighborhoods and cutting off access to goods and services. PennDOT engaged CDM Smith as the prime consultant to design transportation solutions. Current work (Section 2) includes the widening and reconstruction of approximately 5,000 feet of I-95, 13 retaining walls, four bridge structures, eight sign structures, ITS, lighting, signal improvements, and utility replacements.
The full Bridge Street Ramps project will connect Philadelphia’s industrial waterfront and the neighborhoods of Bridesburg, Frankford, East Frankford, Wissinoming, and the Aramingo Avenue commercial corridor with I-95 and New Jersey. To be completed in multiple phases, the full project includes the replacement of seven mainline structures, interstate ramps, and new roads and multi-use trails for the city network. Once complete, the new infrastructure will straddle city roadways and major utilities. The reconstruction will also eliminate lane drops at the Bridge Street interchange, which will help solve a major traffic problem that has impacted the region for years.
Renderings provided by WSP.
PennDOT seeks to improve local multi-modal access to unite local communities while rebuilding I-95 from Margaret Street to Van Kirk Street in Philadelphia. To support this effort, CDM Smith is working with PennDOT to implement a planning, urban design, and public outreach initiative to guide the highway design process. The planning and urban design initiative has worked directly with the city of Philadelphia, residents, neighborhood associations, businesses, civic associations, public arts organizations, and other non-profits to reconnect neighborhoods, provide new bicycle and pedestrian access, support local redevelopment initiatives, and install green infrastructure systems to manage storm water and integrate green space in a dense urban environment.
Reconstruction will take place to accommodate the approximate 158,000 vehicles that use I-95 daily while always keeping six lanes of traffic open. Along with mainline improvements, construction includes relocation of half an interchange, local street improvements, and a multi-use trail connecting to existing bicycle facilities. The 1,000-foot multi-span viaduct over Tacony Street is designed to avoid three 60-inch water mains while providing space for travelers below.
It's rewarding to work with a client who is passionate about a project, and understands the importance of integrating community needs into the design of critical interstate improvements.
CDM Smith has proudly collaborated with PennDOT since the early 2000s with the development of a Point of Access Study for the entire Bridge Street Ramps project. I-95 Bridge Street Ramps is one of five coordinated mega-projects currently in design and construction. CDM Smith must coordinate with work on other sections of the highway that are under design and reconstruction at the same time to deliver maximum value with minimum disruption.
The Section 2 design was finalized while the CDM Smith team concurrently worked on other Bridge Street Ramp sections. “Without the unwavering team attitude of our management team, it would not have been possible for CDM Smith to successfully support two sections under construction, complete the final design of Section BS2 and progress the preliminary engineering of Section BS5,” said Don Gusic, Project Manager. “I’m grateful for the selflessness and dedication of my management team: Kazi Hassan, Robin Dominick, Tyler Kerstetter and Alex Eadline. This team is responsible for BS2 final design receiving the highest performance rating from PennDOT.”
CDM Smith’s multidisciplinary team got to work revamping I-95, including Robin Dominick leading structures, Alex Eadline championing highway and storm water management efforts, Kazi Hassan directing urban design elements and utilities, and Marian Hull coordinating public involvement initiatives. The entirety of BSR project work encompasses elements of stakeholder outreach, meeting services, transportation studies, traffic studies, storm water, and green infrastructure design, ITS and roadway designs; the firm is equipped to provide all these services to PennDOT within a single team. “To organize these components, the team successfully implemented interdisciplinary reviews to coordinate the smaller details of the project,” Gusic said.
The age of Philadelphia’s infrastructure and the existing use of combined sewer systems resulted in extensive work to separate the interstate’s storm water from the combined sewer system. Due to limited available right-of-way, innovative storm water management design was used to address storm water requirements for Bridge Street Ramps. “Alex Eadline did an exceptional job explaining various options to the client for all projects, and his research has even led to a pilot project testing new technologies,” said Gusic.
PennDOT is bringing its vision of unified multimodal access to life with improved connections through I-95 and surrounding areas with a complete corridors approach. Section 2 is the next step in PennDOT’s multi-phase approach to achieving more effective transportation for travelers on the interstate, easier access to the local street network and upgraded transportation infrastructure. The ability to achieve many goals at once approaching roadway upgrades holistically maximizes PennDOT’s time and resources while minimizing traffic congestion and detours.
For more information on these transformative efforts, check out PennDOT’s project website.