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First phase of Richmond Street project in Philly nearing end

January 17, 2020 12:00 AM
By: Brad Rudolph

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Major construction is nearing an end on PennDOT's improvements to Richmond Street in the Port Richmond section of Philadelphia. The project is the first section (AF1) of PennDOT's overall plan to reconstruct and improve mainline Interstate 95 between Allegheny Avenue and Frankford Creek and the surface streets near the interchange.

Under the AF1 project, Richmond Street was widened by 2 feet between Ann Street and Allegheny Avenue to provide 11-foot wide northbound and southbound travel lanes that will straddle newly installed trolley tracks. The wider travel lanes — a result of PennDOT's multimodal approach to designing and building Richmond Street improvements to benefit motorists, transit riders, and pedestrians — will allow vehicles to pass safely between SEPTA's Route 15 Trolley and vehicles parked along Richmond Street.

Over the final months of 2019, crews on the AF1 project installed sidewalk and curb improvements on the west side of Richmond Street between Clearfield Street and Allegheny Avenue. They also completed a new sidewalk on the west side of Richmond Street from Allegheny Avenue to Westmoreland Street. PennDOT's contractor also completed the installation of the trolley rails from Clearfield Street, through the intersection with Allegheny Avenue and into the Westmoreland Loop terminal. A new brick perimeter wall is in place along Emery Street, and new platforms for loading and unloading passengers have been built at the terminal. The remainder of the new terminal will be completed this spring. Installation of poles that will hold the trolley line's catenary wires was also completed across the Richmond Street project area, along with installation of new, decorative LED streetlight poles.

Richmond Street construction began in early 2018 with utility installations and relocations in the project area. Over the course of that first year of construction on the $32 million project, new gas and water mains were installed and connected to the properties along the Richmond Street corridor, and numerous other utility lines and wires have been relocated to accommodate the improvements.

In early 2019, crews returned to the southern end of the project and began the next major stage of the project. First, new sidewalks and curbs were built, then the outer edges of Richmond Street were reconstructed. By mid-year, a new crew returned to the southern end of the work area and began installing two sets of trolley rails as part of reconstruction of the middle section of the roadway under the final stage of the project. An additional residential parking area for Richmond Street residents was also installed and is now available on reconstructed Melvale Street, which runs parallel to Richmond Street, adjacent to I-95 between Clearfield Avenue and Wishart Street.

The completion of AF1 construction this spring will be followed by a second surface street project, AF2, that will improve sections of Delaware, Allegheny, and Castor avenues beginning in 2021. Construction on mainline I-95 in this section is expected to begin in 2024.

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