Improving safety, travel, and the public spaces in Philadelphia’s famed museum-mile area is the goal of this $65 million project. The two-stage effort entails replacement of seven 1950s-era bridge superstructures, located between 18th Street and 22nd Street over the Vine Street Expressway (I-676); installation of new landscaping, hardscaping, and sidewalks on local streets next to the interstate; and construction of shortened cross-walks at 20th Street/Benjamin Franklin Parkway intersection. Other work includes the installation of new pavement on bridge approaches, traffic signals, drainage systems, and ITS elements.
As the construction manager and inspector, Urban is helping PennDOT deliver these improvements safely, on schedule, within budget, and in a manner that meets the needs of commuters, local communities, and tourists. The project’s location in one of Philadelphia’s most popular and high-traffic neighborhoods adds to the challenges typical of construction in urban areas, mainly traffic phasing. During the first stage of the project, ten construction phases were required to maintain safe travel in the area and accommodate high-profile events, including the successful 2015 Papal Visit & World Meeting of Families, 2017 NFL Draft, and July 4th concert and fireworks.
Completed on schedule and within budget, stage one entailed replacement of four two-span bridges with single-span structures. By completing crucial bridge construction activities at night, the contractors were able to meet schedule milestones without implementing additional detours or road closures that would inconvenience motorists. Other work included reconstruction of several highly visible public spaces — Shakespeare Park, Pennypacker Park, and the plaza on Winter Street alongside the Franklin Institute. Stage two involves replacement of three other I-676 overpasses.
Urban’s construction management team, including our M/DBE subconsultants, focuses on fostering open dialogue among PennDOT, the general contractor, subcontractors, and the designer. We hold regular coordination meetings to resolve field issues; closely monitor progress of communications, water, gas, sanitary sewer, and electrical utility relocations; and make sure that traffic control plans are communicated clearly to all parties. This positive communication climate has helped produce quality work, on schedule.
New bridges and upgraded public spaces are making Philadelphia’s museum mile friendlier to pedestrians and drivers.