Center City Street Projects Enough To Make You Snarl

Posted: April 07, 1999

If you think all you have to do to sail smoothly through Center City streets and highways is duck Chestnut Street construction, think again.

How do more than a half-dozen other major road projects in the city's downtown section this summer grab you?

Here they are, as compiled from officials at the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the city Streets Department.

The repairing and resurfacing of many streets, each of which should take about a week, said PennDOT assistant press secretary Gene Blaum.

Affected streets include Market Street from 5th to Juniper, and from 38th to 46th streets; Walnut, between 33rd and 38th Street; Chestnut, between 33rd and 63rd; 25th, between Poplar and Pennsylvania Avenue; 6th Street between Race and Walnut; Race between 8th and 6th streets; and JFK Blvd. between Broad and 20th streets.

The stretch on Chestnut Street, about three miles long, could last longer than a week, Blaum said.

The repair and improvement of Christopher Columbus Boulevard/Delaware Avenue, between Race and Richmond streets, begins in early September and will take three years.

"We'll be working very closely with the businesses along Delaware Avenue and Columbus Boulevard, as far as phasing the work in and having minimal work on weekends," said Blaum.

The first phase of that project, a 1.1-mile stretch between Reed and Race streets, was completed in 1996.

A traffic signal improvement project, scheduled to get under way during the summer, for southwest Center City, the area west of Broad and south of Market.

A sidewalk spruce-up on Market Street between 6th Street and City Hall.

Reconstruction of the concrete pavement on I-95 between the Ben Franklin Bridge and Spruce Street. Scheduled to start in June and run through Nov. 30, this project involves digging 13 inches down to pull up concrete pavement that dates back to the mid-1970s.

"Initially, there will be off-peak lane closures," said Blaum. "But when concrete removal starts, traffic will be reduced to two lanes in each direction, 24 hours a day."

Blaum said that although the concrete work must be completed by Nov. 30, "miscellaneous road work can go on into June 2000."

Nearby, on the Vine Expressway (I-676), PennDOT will be installing nine closed-circuit TV cameras and two traffic detector stations, which sense a slowdown in traffic flow and transmit that to PennDOT's traffic control center, where operators will be able to remotely pan and tilt their road cameras to get an idea of the problem.

Also, two electronic variable message signs will be installed on the Schuylkill Expressway at the Vine Expressway interchange.

Preparation work for the major rehabbing of I-95, set for next year, will begin this summer as PennDOT is scheduled to install 11 closed-circuit TV cameras and four more variable message signs to supplement the current two message signs in the vicinity of Allegheny Avenue.

Send e-mail to heimers@phillynews.com

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