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Schuylkill River Bridge Diamond Run Viaduct Reconstruction

Schuylkill River Bridge Reconstruction

The Schuylkill River Bridge Diamond Run Viaduct Reconstruction Project was completed a month ahead of schedule. The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission complemented Urban’s Construction Management team for “completing a very complex project ahead of schedule, safely managing the traffic flow through the construction site and maintaining four travel lanes during peak hours with minimum disruptions to the public.” 

Details
Markets
Services Provided
Design
Client
Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission
Project Contact
Mike Wetzel, PE
Vice President, Practice Leader - Bridges

Schuylkill River Bridge & Diamond Run Viaduct Reconstruction, Philadelphia, PA

Built in 1953, the original Schuylkill River Bridge was part of the Pennsylvania Turnpike’s effort to extend its highway eastward toward the Delaware River and to connect with the New Jersey Turnpike. Opened to traffic in 1954, it provided a critical link for traffic traveling through eastern Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic Region. Through the years, traffic gradually increased and now 50,000 vehicles a day travel over the bridge. To keep up with the growth in the area and travel demands, Urban designed a bridge that would provide a better service on this stretch of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

 

Updating America’s First Superhighway

The Schuylkill River Bridge Diamond Run Viaduct Reconstruction Project was the first phase of a multiphase project to update and widen the Pennsylvania Turnpike, America’s First Superhighway, from four to six lanes.

 

SEPTA and Conrail tracks run under the bridge one on each side of the river through the project area. A Conrail bridge runs parallel to the new bridge – a mere 20 feet way. Communication and coordination with Conrail and SEPTA was a critical part of the design and construction process. 

Schuylkill River Bridge

An Urban Solution: Two By Two

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission tapped Urban for this major reconstruction project. We completed the preliminary and final design, supervised all stages of development associated with roadway, structure, hydrology and hydraulics, foundation, and erosion and sediment control related tasks. During the project, geologists discovered Karst (limestone) under the surface, which meant using stabilizing techniques throughout the project area. Our Construction Management team oversaw the construction phase of this project.

 

The design increased the number of lanes from four to six, and added shoulder room when there had been none before. The Pennsylvania Turnpike decided the best method to proceed would be to construct a new bridge to carry the eastbound traffic while rehabilitating the existing bridge to support the westbound traffic. Each bridge shared identical total lengths of 1,223’-8”.

The Diamond Run Viaduct, which carried the turnpike over a freight rail line and the Schuylkill River Multiuse Trail was demolished and in its place we built two separate side-by-side single span bridges.

 

Our design and construction solutions paid special attention to the successful maintenance and protection of the heavy traffic volumes using the bridge. We shifted traffic to the new bridge while the existing bridge underwent rehabilitation and maintained four lanes of uninterrupted traffic throughout construction. 

 

The Results

Schuylkill River Bridge Diamond Run Viaduct Reconstruction Project was completed a month ahead of schedule. The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission complemented Urban’s Construction Management team for “completing a very complex project ahead of schedule, safely managing the traffic flow through the construction site and maintaining four travel lanes during peak hours with minimum disruptions to the public.”

Get in Touch
Vice President, Practice Leader - Bridges
mpwetzel@urbanengineers.com 215.922.8081