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June 24, 2024

Embarrassing misspelling on I-95 sign in Northeast Philly expected to be corrected by Monday night

Before it was covered up, the on-ramp sign in Tacony — a block from where a tanker truck fire had caused a highway bridge to collapse last year — read 'Cenrtal' instead of 'Central' Philadelphia.

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I-95 misspelled sign Michaela Althouse/PhillyVoice

The new sign for I-95 South at Cottman Avenue in Northeast Philly had the word 'central' misspelled, but was expected to be fixed by Monday night, PennDOT said. By midday Monday, PennDOT had covered up the sign containing the error.

A spelling mistake on a newly installed sign a block from where a tanker truck had overturned and burst into flames, causing the Interstate 95 bridge over Cottman Avenue to collapse a year ago, has been hidden from view.

The sign at Cottman Avenue and State Road in Tacony directs motorists to the I-95 South ramp. When it was still visible, the phrase "Central Philadelphia' was printed with the letters T and R transposed, so it looked like "Cenrtal Philadelphia."

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By around noon on Monday the sign had been covered up with a black shroud and PennDOT was promising a spelling correction as soon as possible.

"We are aware of the misspelled sign at the new Cottman ramp at I-95 and have taken immediate action to address it," PennDOT spokesperson Alexis Campbell said in an email Monday. "The sign has been covered, the misspelled word will be corrected tonight, and a corrected sign will be installed this week. All costs for correcting this error will be covered by the contractor."

PennDOT declined to talk more about the sign and could not be asked how much a highway guide sign like the one this one in Tacony costs to make and what the process is to check signs for errors, like spelling mistakes, before they are installed.

The sign was replaced as part of the work to repair the bridge that collapsed June 11, 2023, when the driver of a tanker truck filled with gasoline lost control of his vehicle on the curve along the Cottman Avenue ramp exiting I-95. The truck tipped onto its side and ignited on the section of Cottman Avenue beneath the I-95 overpass. Heat from the fire melted the highway's steel support beams causing damage to the northbound and southbound sides of the bridge. The truck's driver died in the crash, and ultimately the entire span had to be demolished and traffic was shutdown in both directions.

With I-95 being an important highway for motorists and vital for transporting goods up and down the East Coast, a plan was devised to fill in the area formerly under the bridge so a temporary roadway could be built. Within two weeks the temporary road was open to vehicles. Last month, less than one year after the crash, the officials announced that all the structural work was complete — all lanes on both sides of I-95 were open and Cottman Avenue had been reconnected.

PennDOT did not say when the misspelled I-95 South sign had been installed, but over the weekend pictures of "Cenrtal Philadelphia" were circulating on social media. Tiktok user delli420 post a video Sunday that has more than 45,000 views as Monday afternoon.

"I don't understand how this happened, guys," he said.

@delli420 Welcome to Cenrtal Philadelphia!#philly #phillytiktok #phillytiktok #fails #fail #oops #hellomrgeorge #greenscreenvideo @Josh Shapiro ♬ original sound - Mike Delli

This section of Tacony has had a knack for making news that last few years. The intersection is also about a half block from Four Seasons Total Landscaping, where Rudy Giuliani held his infamous and bizarre press conference days after the 2020 presidential election and laid out the Trump campaign's debunked argument that election fraud affected the outcome of that year's election.