Penrose Avenue Bridge (Route 291)

NEWS ALERT!   PennDOT Reopened Platt Bridge (Route 291) to Four Lanes in SW Philadelphia

NEWS FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
King of Prussia, PA,

Platt Bridge Travel Restrictions Start Feb. 20 in Philadelphia

PennDOT Investing $43 Million to Preserve and Improve 61-Year-Old Structure

Because of much needed repairs, the George C. Platt Memorial Bridge on Route 291 in Philadelphia will be restricted to one lane in each direction for two years, starting Monday night, Feb. 20, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation said today.

"The Platt Bridge moves thousands of motorists each day through Southwest Philadelphia and the rehabilitation of this critical bridge will enable it to continue to safely carry vehicular and pedestrian traffic for decades to come," said PennDOT District Executive Lester C. Toaso.

Toaso advised motorists to use alternate routes or allow additional time for travel on the Platt Bridge during the $43 million rehabilitation project because traffic slowdowns and delays will occur. Construction is scheduled to finish in June 2014.

The Platt Bridge, which carries four lanes of Route 291 (Penrose Avenue) over the Schuylkill River, handles an average of 56,000 vehicles a day.

Traffic on the three-span Platt Bridge and its 90 approach spans will be restricted from two lanes to one in each direction during construction. Pedestrian access will be maintained on the bridge throughout the project.

Crews will paint the bridge's steel truss and structural steel underneath the spans to protect them from the elements. They will also rehabilitate and resurface the center truss spans; resurface concrete approach spans; repair structural steel; replace or improve expansion joints; repair concrete piers; repair and replace guide rail; and replace damaged pedestrian railings.

Stage one of the four-stage operation starts Feb. 20, weather permitting. The contractor will work five-to-seven nights from 9:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. to set concrete barriers on both sides of the bridge to restrict eastbound and westbound traffic to one lane (eastbound traffic heads away from Philadelphia International Airport and westbound traffic heads toward the airport). This stage is expected to last two months.

In stage two, one eastbound and one westbound lane will run on the eastbound side of the bridge and the travel lanes will be separated by a concrete barrier. This stage is expected to last six months.

Stage three will find both travel lanes on the westbound side of the bridge, separated by a concrete barrier. Stage three will last 13 months.

The fourth and final stage will have one eastbound and one westbound lane back on their respective sides of the bridge for seven months. The bridge will reopen to two travel lanes in each direction at the conclusion of stage four.

In addition to single-lane traffic patterns, Toaso said occasional weekday morning bridge closures will occur from midnight to 5 a.m. for certain phases of construction.

During these early morning bridge closures, eastbound Route 291 drivers will follow the posted detour of Island Avenue, Enterprise Avenue, I-95 North, Broad Street and Pattison Avenue. Westbound Route 291 (Penrose Avenue) drivers will follow Pattison Avenue, Broad Street, I-95 South, Enterprise Avenue and Island Avenue.

To assist motorists during construction, PennDOT will use three traffic sensors to detect delays on the eastbound approaches to the Platt Bridge and post two portable message signs to inform northbound I-95 motorists of congestion and delays on the Platt Bridge.

PennDOT also will have a tow truck available to respond quickly to an incident or disabled vehicle on the bridge during construction.

The speed limit on the Platt Bridge will be reduced from 45 miles per hour to 35 miles per hour during construction.

PennDOT's contractor began work in May 2011 to repair, paint and preserve the Platt Bridge and its approach spans. The work performed to date has had minimal traffic impacts.

The $42,776,325 project is financed with 80 percent federal and 20 percent state funds.

The three-span bridge and 90 approach spans cover a length of 8,780 feet. The structures were built in the late 1940s and early 1950s and rehabilitated in the early 1980s and 1990s.

PennDOT's general contractor is the joint venture of Hercules Painting Company, Inc. of New Castle, Pa. and Vimas Painting Company, Inc. of Lowellville, Ohio.

PennDOT reminds motorists they can log on to www.511pa.com or call 511 from any phone to check traffic conditions on major highways before heading out.

For more PennDOT information, visit www.dot.state.pa.us. Follow local PennDOT information on Twitter at www.twitter.com/511PAPhilly.