The $160 million ramp project is slated to go to bid in summer 2014, said Charles Davies, assistant district executive/design for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Construction, expected to start in early 2015, would take about three years.
The one-third-mile-long extension of Adams Avenue to Torresdale is expected to cost about $19 million and is included in the new transportation budget proposed this year by Gov. Corbett.
The projects "will open up the whole Torresdale Avenue area to better connectivity" with I-95 and the Betsy Ross Bridge, PennDot project manager Paul Shultes said.
And, he said, the projects will "take industrial traffic out of the residential areas."
The Betsy Ross, which connects New Jersey to Northeast Philadelphia and I-95, is the newest and least used of four Delaware River Port Authority toll bridges. About 40,000 vehicles a day travel the bridge, less than a third of the traffic on the busier Ben Franklin and Walt Whitman Bridges.
When the bridge opened in 1976, exits were in place for the planned Pulaski Expressway but went unused as the expressway was never built. The old ramp stubs will be removed as part of the new construction.
"They're 40 years old, and they don't meet current codes," Shultes said.
The new bridge ramps will provide some of the access that was proposed then, without the widespread destruction of homes and businesses that would have accompanied the expressway.
"The Pulaski Expressway was going to go to U.S. 1," Shultes said. "Adams Avenue will at least get you to Torresdale."
Contact Paul Nussbaum at 215-854-4587 or firstname.lastname@example.org.