September 16, 2022 – PennDOT Acting Executive Deputy Secretary Melissa Batula was joined by Philadelphia’s Deputy Managing Director for the Office of Transportation, Infrastructure and Sustainability Mike Carroll in Center City today to highlight the completion of major construction on the project to rehabilitate and improve Chestnut Street over the Schuylkill River and several nearby bridges.
“We work closely with the city to make investments that will help residents’ and visitors’ travel experience less stressful,” said Batula. “We’re working hard to connect our communities, help you get around more easily, and of course increase our safety.”
PennDOT’s contractor rehabilitated the Chestnut Street bridge under a $104.7 million project that also included the rehabilitation of two Schuylkill Avenue West viaducts over I-76 between Market and Walnut streets; the viaduct under Chestnut Street between 30th and 31st streets; the I-76 west ramp to Chestnut Street; the Walnut Street ramp to I-76 east; and the Chestnut Street stone arch bridges over 24th Street and over the CSX rail line west of 24th Street. The contract also included repairs to a 900-foot section of the “river wall” retaining wall between the river and I-76, and to a retaining wall between the Schuylkill River Trail and the river at Chestnut Street.
The project also included resurfacing and installation of new street lights on Chestnut Street between 31st and 30th streets and between 24th and 23rd streets; constructing wider sidewalks and installing decorative barriers and railings on the Schuylkill Avenue viaducts over I-76 between Walnut and Market streets; and installing new traffic signals and Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) equipment on Chestnut Street.
“It gives me great pride to represent the department and to recognize the tremendous amount of hard work and dedication that went into this very highly-coordinated, highly-complex and highly-critical project to improve Chestnut Street,” said PennDOT District 6 Executive Lou Belmonte.
Through a partnership with the City of Philadelphia Office of Transportation, Infrastructure, and Sustainability (OTIS) and PennDOT, the project implemented the first bicycle traffic signal in Philadelphia at the intersection of Chestnut Street and Schuylkill Avenue West. The signal provides Chestnut Street bicyclists with a protected phase of the signal timing to allow a safe crossing of the intersection. Additionally, spaced durable plastic curbs with flexible delineator posts have been installed as a safety treatment between the parked vehicles and the bicycle lane.
"The Chestnut Street Bridge Project improves safety for people walking, driving, and biking," said Deputy Managing Director for the Office of Transportation, Infrastructure and Sustainability Mike Carroll. "The new bridge includes wider sidewalks, a separated bike lane, and a seamless connection to the Schuylkill River Trail ramp and demonstrates PennDOT’s commitment to the safety of all bridge users."
Work on this project began in August 2017. The Chestnut Street Bridge was substantially completed and reopened to traffic in March 2022 following a two-year closure — due partly to interruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic — to complete structural repairs on the bridge and preservation of the brick arches on the two adjacent arch bridges.
The Chestnut Street Bridge over the Schuylkill River carries approximately 18,664 vehicles per day. The current bridge was built in 1957, replacing the original iron arch bridge that was built in 1912.
While major construction has finished, there will be minor work continuing under this project to install a small section of railing on the Chestnut Street Bridge, reconstruct the driveway at the 2400 Chestnut Street apartment building and perform bridge repair on the Market Street Bridge over the Schuylkill River.
Buckley & Company Inc., of Philadelphia, is the general contractor on the project, which is financed with 80% federal and 20% state funds.