Pennsylvania Department of Transportation

I-95 over Cottman Ave: Emergency Bridge Replacement

Philadelphia, PA

On Sunday, June 11, 2023, a fiery truck crash led to a partial collapse of twin spans carrying I-95 traffic over Cottman Avenue. The northbound structure collapsed while the southbound structure was compromised and eventually demolished. Benesch has an extensive history working with PennDOT on I-95 improvement projects. Within a few hours of the collapse, Benesch was in discussions with PennDOT and the Contractor, and by Monday morning, Benesch had been selected to help with the temporary solution and the future permanent replacement.

I-95 is one of the most important arteries on the East Coast. The section closed due to the collapsed structures connects New York City to Philadelphia, and typically sees 160,000 vehicles each day. To get the critical corridor open, the project team developed a plan to construct a temporary roadway to carry three lanes of traffic in each direction. A temporary retaining wall system was backfilled with Pennsylvania-made lightweight recycled foamed glass aggregate. The temporary roadway was paved on top of the aggregate and incorporated precast concrete barriers. During the development of the temporary solution, the team considered impacts to the permanent bridge replacement to ensure future staged construction would be feasible.

Benesch quickly developed a project plan, delegated tasks, and engaged 35 staff for this emergency effort. The experience came with intense pressure, but Benesch never backs away from a challenge. The project team relied on communication and collaboration with PennDOT and the contractor to implement the solution quickly.

On Friday June 23, just 12 days after the collapse, the temporary roadway opened to traffic. Benesch continues to work on the permanent bridge replacement that will fully restore this critical corridor.

Project highlights

  • Quickly restoring a critical section of a major interstate
  • Adapting the solution to incorporate products that were available for quick delivery to the site
  • Collaboration with PennDOT and the Contractor