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July 02, 2024

PennDOT opens Cottman Avenue I-95 ramp, where bridge collapsed and sign was misspelled

Construction on the southbound entrance is part of a larger project to widen the highway in Northeast Philadelphia.

Transportation I-95
Ramp opening Cottman Avenue misspelling Michaela Althouse/PhillyVoice

PennDOT officials unveiled a new southbound ramp to I-95 at Cottman Avenue on Tuesday. Last week, a sign misspelling the word 'Central' had been installed ahead of the opening. Above, the sign is covered.

PennDOT officially opened a ramp to I-95 at Cottman Avenue on Tuesday — a week after officials installed a roadside sign with a spelling error.

The reconstruction of the southbound entrance to Interstate 95, which is located at the site of the 2023 bridge collapse, is part of a larger project from PennDOT to widen I-95 in Northeast Philadelphia to four continuous lanes between Rhawn and Levick streets and reconfigure the intersection at Cottman Avenue. 

MORE: I-95 fully reopens after a truck fire closed all lanes Friday morning

"The new ramp to southbound I-95 will improve traffic flow and safety by providing a direct connection for motorists to the interstate at Cottman Avenue," PennDOT spokesperson Krys Johnson said. 

Ahead of the ramp's reopening, officials installed the sign above the road in late June directing drivers to the roadway ahead, but the sign was misspelled as "Cenrtal Philadelphia." It was quickly covered up with a black cloth, and PennDOT confirmed a new sign has been installed. 

The intersection was the site of last year's I-95 bridge collapse, when a gasoline truck driver lost control along the Cottman Avenue exit ramp and crashed. It caused a fire that melted the support beams of the Cottman Avenue bridge, leading to its collapse. 

The driver died and all lanes of the bridge were closed for a few days before a temporary replacement was installed 12 days later. In May, officials announced that work was complete on a permanent replacement bridge

PennDOT said while that incident and repair effort were in the vicinity of the new ramp, it caused little to no delay to this project. Work began in the spring of 2022 and cost $52.7 million. 

This effort was the third phase in the project from PennDOT. Phase 1 construction took place between 2009 to 2012 to build two new ramps and reconstruct another in the area. Phase 2 was completed between 2012 and 2017 to widen lanes on both sides of I-95 in a $212 million contract, the largest in PennDOT's history at the time.