Replacing 7 Bridges Over I-676

To ensure the continuing safety and structural stability of our transportation infrastructure, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has replaced seven deteriorating bridges over Interstate 676 in Center City Philadelphia. Construction began in spring 2015. The bridge replacements were substantially completed with the opening of the replacement 18th Street overpass in May 2018. Work will continue periodically this fall to complete miscellaneous operations on and around the new bridges and on I-676 under the new span.

PennDOT is coordinating this major transportation infrastructure improvement project with the City of Philadelphia Streets Department and representatives from the Benjamin Franklin Parkway’s cultural and residential community to develop a construction plan that accounts for the needs of motorists, pedestrians and cyclists.

19th Street Bridge Over I-676 Before & After Replacement
All bridges will be replaced with single span structure, with no center pier.
Slide your cursor to see before and after images of the 19th Street bridge.

The first stages of construction were focused on the replacement of the expansive structure that carries 20th Street at its intersection with the Benjamin Franklin Parkway over I-676, as well as replacement of three smaller bridges immediately to the east of 20th Street: the pedestrian bridge at Shakespeare Park connecting Logan Circle with the Free Library on Vine Street; the pedestrian bridge connecting Logan Circle with the former Family Court Building on Vine Street; and the 19th Street bridge over I-676.

Subsequent stages saw the completion of the replacement of I-676 overpasses at 21st Street and continuing construction in 2018 on the 18th Street and 22nd Street bridges.

Following completion of a PennDOT study that revealed that there would be no adverse traffic flow impacts within the project area by advancing the start of the 22nd and 21st street bridges, PennDOT accelerated the schedule to start work to replace those bridges in November 2016. Replacement of the 18th Street overpass started in spring 2017.

The accelerated schedule will allow the overall project to finish by fall 2018, more than a year earlier that originally planned.

In addition to building 7 new spans over I-676, PennDOT has completed a number of street-level enhancements  to create additional green space and public-friendly areas on the Parkway adjacent to the bridges. Changes to several intersections on the Parkway and nearby streets also improve pedestrian safety and provide a more pleasant experience for the thousands of people who are drawn each year to the cultural and entertainment offerings of the city’s renowned gateway.

PennDOT will continue to minimize disruptions on I-676, the Parkway and other affected areas during remaining construction.

Go here for more details on the staging and scheduling of construction.

 Stage 1: March 2015 through June 2017

This bridge replacement project has been divided into two stages. The first stage is scheduled to run from February 2015 through June 2017 and will be completed in ten construction phases.


Four bridges over Interstate 676 in Center City Philadelphia will be replaced under Stage 1:

  • 20th Street/Benjamin Franklin Parkway;
  • Pedestrian Bridge connecting Logan Circle and Vine Street at the Philadelphia Free Library;
  • 19th Street; and
  • Pedestrian Bridge connecting Logan Circle and Vine Street at the former Family Court Building.

Each new bridge will be a single-span structure, replacing the two-span bridges that currently carry traffic and pedestrians over I-676.

PennDOT’s contractor will complete Stage 1 bridge and street-level improvements in ten separate construction phases over 26 months. These phases will allow for the safe and orderly demolition of the existing superstructures and center piers and construction of new bridges while maintaining full lane capacity on I-676 during periods of heavy use.

Speed limits are reduced on I-676 through the work zone, and some narrowing of lane widths will occur during construction.

Fencing has been erected around each work area above I-676 — along sections of 20th Street, the Parkway, 19th Street, Vine Street, Logan Square and Winter Street — to protect pedestrians and create secure areas for construction personnel and equipment.  Four statues/monuments within the work area also have been enclosed in protective structures during construction.

Sections of sidewalks and some pedestrian crosswalks have been and will be closed temporarily during construction. In addition, the existing public space abutting I-676 along the northern arc of Logan Circle between 20th and 18th streets also has been fenced-in and remains inaccessible during certain construction phases.

Stage1-Phase 2-3 Pattern

West of 20th Street, a center section of the Parkway near the Civil War Memorial Monuments has been fenced in and is inaccessible to pedestrians. Parkway traffic is being re-routed through the 20th Street Bridge work area.

The outer southbound lanes of the Parkway between 21st and 20th streets and the adjacent public space has been closed and fenced in, including the Civil War Sailors Memorial on that side of the Parkway and the DeMiranda Statue in the green space between the Parkway and Winter Street near the Franklin Institute. Public space abutting Winter Street, on the north side of the Franklin Institute, also is fenced in for construction. See the changes coming to Winter Street.

12-14_Shakes-2Each bridge will be closed to motorists and pedestrians during construction except the bridge at 20th Street/Benjamin Franklin Parkway. This wide structure will be rebuilt in 3 phases to maintain two lanes of traffic in each direction for most of the project (Northbound 20th Street will be reduced to a single lane northbound during construction in the second half of 2016. Pedestrian access is being maintained between the Parkway area and Center City.

At the pedestrian bridge between Logan Circle and the Free Library, the existing public space (Shakespeare Park) is being refurbished and expanded to fully cover the opening that now exists on the west side of the park. This will create pedestrian access to the park from 20th Street as well as from Vine Street and Logan Circle. The Park and the Shakespeare Memorial Statue have been fenced in for construction.

The public space at the pedestrian bridge between Logan Circle and the Family Court Building also is being refurbished. The entire area — including the Pennypacker Statue — is fenced in and closed to pedestrians during construction.

 Stage 2: November 2016 through November 2018

11-14_21stUnder the new, accelerated schedule, the second and final stage of the  bridge replacement project will run from November 2016 through November 2018.

Stage 2 will replace the existing bridges over I-676 at:

  • 18th Street;
  • 21st Street; and
  • 22nd Street