King of Prussia, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) is the winner of the 2017 American Cultural Resource Association industry award in the public sector for PennDOT’s public outreach efforts regarding archaeological discoveries made during the Interstate 95 corridor reconstruction.
“A tremendous amount of coordination has gone into these outreach efforts and we are honored to receive this award,” PennDOT District 6 Executive Kenneth M. McClain said. “PennDOT remains committed to informing the citizens of Philadelphia and the archelogy community of these amazing discoveries.”
The ACRA awards program recognizes private and public-sector clients of ACRA member firms for cultural resource management accomplishments. PennDOT’s accomplishments include DiggingI95.com, a website dedicated to educating the public on the artifacts found at the I-95 Girard Avenue Interchange (GIR) construction sites, as well as several cultural exhibits showcasing the artifacts. I-95 GIR is one of five major projects that are part of a long-term initiative to rebuild and improve the interstate in Pennsylvania.
To date, 10 prehistoric sites and more than a million artifacts have been identified by AECOM, an engineering firm overseeing the I-95 project on PennDOT’s behalf. The firm is now in the process of analyzing the items ranging from the late 18th century through the early 20th century, including drinking glasses, figurines and various building foundations.
“A lot of people didn't think we were going to find anything,” explained Catherine Spohn, PennDOT’s cultural resources professional who oversees the implementation of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act in PennDOT District 6. “The impression was when I-95 was built, everything was destroyed. But in reality, buildings were knocked down on the surface so everything underneath was still there.”
After being analyzed and catalogued, some of the artifacts may be sent to The State Museum of Pennsylvania but the plan is for a significant portion of them to stay in Philadelphia so they will be available for view to local residents.
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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