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Side view of a long, blue steel bridge with the Philadelphia skyline in the hazy background.

Girard Point Bridge Improvement Project

Project Description

The I-95 Girard Point Bridge is a double-decked cantilevered truss bridge that is nearly a mile long (5,183 feet) and built in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The purpose of the I-95 Girard Point Bridge Improvement Project is to ensure that this bridge, which is an essential transportation facility for the Philadelphia metropolitan region, continues to provide a safe and reliable crossing over the Schuylkill River, and to improve the adjacent approach structures and pavement between Island Avenue and the Philadelphia Navy Yard. The project is intended to provide a smoother driving experience, enhanced safety, improved access to the adjacent Philadelphia International Airport and Navy Yard, and to keep the bridge in sound structural condition.

The corridor crosses over state and local highways as well as the Schuylkill River and carries an average of 148,500 vehicles per day, about 6 percent of which is truck traffic.

The transportation improvement project will include approach roadway pavement repairs; concrete substructure repairs; installation of river pier protections; structural steel repairs and evaluations of fatigue repair performance; bridge superstructure painting; expansion dam replacements and drainage systems repairs; Latex-Modified Concrete (LMC) deck overlays; and other miscellaneous bridge repairs.

To comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the project is being advanced as Categorical Exclusion (CE) and impacts to natural, social, economic, and cultural resources are being assessed.

The I-95 Girard Point Bridge Project is one of several projects being evaluated as a candidate for bridge tolling. A bridge toll is a fee that drivers pay when passing a specific location, often by using a service like E-ZPass. The funds received from the bridge toll will go back to the I-95 Girard Point Bridge Project to pay for construction, maintenance, and operations.

As part of the environmental review process, PennDOT is analyzing how bridge tolling may impact local communities and how alternate routes possibly taken by drivers to avoid the toll may impact local traffic and roadways. When studies are completed, the department will present the findings for public review and comment in a virtual meeting, or if safety precautions allow, an in-person public meeting.  Project details, such as engineering design, environmental impacts, construction schedule, and maintenance and protection of traffic during construction will be shared as well.

The project's construction start date is not yet determined.

To stay informed or to be added to the project mailing list, please complete the form at the bottom of this page. You may also submit your comments and feedback by using this form.

 

PennDOT Pathways Major Bridge P3 Initiative

On November 12, 2020, PennDOT received the Pennsylvania P3 Board's approval of the Major Bridge P3 Initiative, which allows the use of the P3 delivery model for bridges in need of replacement or rehabilitation, and to consider tolls at these locations. P3, which stands for Public-Private Partnership, is a cooperative arrangement between two or more public and private sectors that involves government and businesses working together to complete a project that will serve the public. PennDOT's P3 Office develops innovative project delivery and financing models for a wide array of initiatives that are designed to strengthen and improve the state's transportation network.

Through the P3 model, PennDOT can leverage private investment to rebuild critical bridges during a period with historically low interest rates and a favorable labor market. This initiative can provide a dedicated source of revenue for these infrastructure improvements and could create significant savings over the life of the program while ensuring the vitality of the state's transportation system and economy.

Bridge tolling can provide the funds to repair or replace these costly bridges without using PennDOT's current funding, which in turn allows those funds to be used for other roadway maintenance, operations, and improvements. Tolling would be all electronic and collected by using E-ZPass or license plate billing. The funds received from the toll would go back to the bridge where the toll is collected to pay for the construction, maintenance, and operation of that bridge.

The candidate bridges being considered for tolling through the Major Bridge P3 Initiative were selected based on the following criteria: 

  • interstate location
  • structure of substantial size and cost to replace or rehabilitate
  • warrants timely attention
  • maintains geographic balance
  • does not impact just one region or corridor 
  • ability to begin construction in 2-4 years for the near-term benefit

In the coming years, PennDOT will evaluate these candidate bridges through individual environmental documents being prepared or re-evaluated for each bridge. More information on each individual bridge project, and when the public will have an opportunity to engage on those projects, can be found at www.penndot.gov/funding.

To support PennDOT Pathways, an alternative funding Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) study is underway to identify near- and long-term funding solutions and establish a methodology for their evaluation. One of the early findings of the PEL study is that tolling of major bridges in need of replacement or rehabilitation appears to be a viable near-term solution. To advance this funding alternative, PennDOT is pursuing the first initiative of the PennDOT Pathways Program: the Major Bridge P3 Initiative. 

PennDOT Pathways is a program to identify and implement alternative funding solutions for Pennsylvania's transportation network. As Pennsylvania's mobility needs have grown, the amount of funding required to support our highway and bridges has continued to increase. PennDOT's current highway and bridge budget is about $6.9 billion per year. Although that's a lot of money, it's less than half of the $15 billion needed to keep Pennsylvania's highways and bridges in a state of good repair and address major bottlenecks on our roadway network. Much of PennDOT's current funding comes from gas taxes and driver and vehicle fees. While this model worked well in the past, circumstances today have made it unsustainable. With PennDOT Pathways, we're looking for reliable, future-focused funding solutions that will meet our growing needs while serving our communities. The PennDOT Pathways PEL study will evaluate additional alternative funding solutions and will be available for public comment in the spring of 2021.

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