Philadelphia, PA – On behalf of Governor Tom Wolf, PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards joined Mayor James Kenney and other elected officials at Shakespeare Park in Philadelphia today to celebrate the recent opening of two new pedestrian bridges over Interstate 676, marking the completion of four of the seven bridges PennDOT is replacing over the expressway in Center City.
“This transformative project not only secures critical parts of our infrastructure with the replacement of seven structurally deficient bridges, but it also creates beautifully-imagined and well-integrated open spaces that people will treasure and enjoy for generations to come,” Richards said.
On June 29, PennDOT reopened the pedestrian bridge commonly known as the Free Library Bridge or Shakespeare Park over I-676 between 20th and 19th streets. In addition to replacing the pedestrian structure linking Logan Square with Vine Street, PennDOT expanded Shakespeare Park by covering part of the previously opened area over I-676 at the west side of the park. The entire park has been hardscaped with paver blocks to create an amphitheater, and landscaped with a variety of trees and shrubs. Planter boxes and decorative street lights line the new sidewalks along Vine Street on the north side of Logan Square, new park benches were installed and the Shakespeare statue was cleaned and refurbished.
The new pedestrian structure, known as the Family Court Bridge between 18th Street and 19th Street, also reopened on June 29. The new bridge features a park-like setting, with decorative paver blocks and exposed aggregate sidewalks winding through a central area filled with planter boxes of flowers and grasses, decorative street lighting, ornamental fencing, trees and granite park benches surrounding a large oval lawn. The refurbished Pennypacker Monument stands at the southern entrance to the bridge.
In addition to reopening the two pedestrian bridges, PennDOT completed work on Winter Street last month following construction of a new intersection with the eastbound outer lanes of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The contractor realigned Winter Street along the side of the Franklin Institute to create a perpendicular intersection with the Parkway’s outer lanes. This improvement establishes a new plaza along the side of the Franklin Institute that has been hardscaped with paver blocks and landscaped with a variety of trees. Park benches were also installed at the corner of Winter Street and the Parkway, and along the Parkway’s outer drive between the Parkway and 21st Street.
Three additional bridges over I-676 remain under construction, including 18th Street, 21st Street and 22nd Street. The entire project began in April 2015 and will finish in November 2018, a year ahead of schedule.
Buckley & Company, Inc. of Philadelphia is the general contractor on the $65.4 million project which is financed with 100 percent federal funds.
For more information on the I-676 project, visit www.bridgesover676.com.
For more information on projects occurring or being bid this year, those made possible by or accelerated by Act 89, or those on the department’s Four and Twelve Year Plans, visit www.projects.penndot.gov.
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