Major Philly highway faces repair project

July 22, 2009 4:09:23 PM PDT
A large repair project on a Philadelphia highway is about to get started TRAVEL LINKS: From PennDOT:

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) today announced that construction will begin Monday, July 27 on a 4 1/2-month long, $3.6 million project to improve Interstate 676 between 18th Street and Interstate 95 in Philadelphia by replacing 77 sections of deteriorated concrete pavement.

During construction to preserve and improve this critical expressway, I-676 will be reduced to one lane in each direction Mondays through Fridays from 9 p.m. or 8 p.m., depending on the operation, until 5 a.m. the next morning. In addition, I-676 will be closed completely in one direction on four or five nights in August from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Detours will be posted when one side of the expressway is closed. Construction is scheduled to finish in mid-December.

District Executive Lester C. Toaso advised motorists to use an alternate route or allow at least 30 additional minutes for travel on I-676 when lane closures are in place for construction. "Motorists need to stay informed of the work taking place on I-676 so they can make smart decisions when traveling to or through Center City Philadelphia during this project," Toaso said.

For the first time in Pennsylvania, PennDOT will use precast steel reinforced concrete slabs to replace cracked and worn sections of concrete pavement on I-676 in order to minimize traffic impacts normally associated with concrete pavement replacements.

"The precast slabs allow us to remove and replace sections of concrete pavement and put traffic on it in nine hours as compared to the conventional construction and curing process that lasts 19 hours," Toaso said. "If we went the conventional route, we would have had to restrict I-676 travel lanes on weekends and the project would not have been completed until 2010."

Starting July 27, crews will begin saw cutting damaged sections of eastbound and westbound I-676, working each night from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Beginning Monday, Aug. 3 at 8 p.m., the contractor will begin to remove and replace sections of concrete pavement on eastbound I-676 starting at 18th Street. Lane restrictions will be in place on both sides of the expressway all week and lanes will reopen each morning by 5 a.m. In addition, from 11 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 5 to 5 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 6, eastbound I-676 will be closed at the 15th Street Interchange. Eastbound traffic will be detoured off the expressway at 15th Street, then straight on Vine Street to the Broad Street on-ramp to I-676 East.

Work is expected to begin the week of Aug. 10 to replace damaged concrete on westbound I-676. Complete closures of westbound I-676 are expected to occur two nights in mid-August near the 15th Street exit.

Toaso said the reinforced concrete slabs are produced in New York and will be delivered to the contractor prior to installation. The 12-inch thick concrete slabs are constructed using steel reinforcing bars. Each slab is measured to exact dimensions of the pavement area to be replaced and the slabs are locked in by injecting fast-setting concrete grout beneath and around the edges.

Once the new concrete slabs are installed, crews will work through the late fall to diamond grind the pavement to eliminate small imperfections and provide a smooth ride; seal pavement joints; paint new traffic lines; and install reflectors in the pavement and on barriers to enhance driver safety.

James J. Anderson Construction Company Inc., of Philadelphia, is the general contractor on the $3,627,534 project that is funded with 100 percent state funds.

The Fort Miller Company Inc. of Schuylerville, NY, is the supplier of the precast Super-Slab System.

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