CSX announced in April 2015 that it was undertaking a multi-year, multi-phase project to improve the 1.2-mile-long 25th Street viaduct in south Philadelphia, Penn. The project is intended to restore the viaduct to its original condition and appearance. CSX owns the viaduct, which stands approx. 14 feet above South 25th Street between Washington Avenue and West Passyunk Avenue in Philadelphia.
While structurally sound, the impact of Philadelphia’s weather over the viaduct’s 90+ year lifespan has impacted the structure’s outer surfaces.
CSX’s Viaduct Improvement Project will help protect the safety of South Philadelphia residents and ensure the continued availability of this important transportation connection.
CSX has made significant progress on 25th Street viaduct project in south Philadelphia since it was announced in spring 2015.
CSX has completed the project’s first phase, in which contractors wrapped the underside of the viaduct in a debris shield netting to prevent flaking concrete from falling to the street during the improvement project. In addition, the 5-foot walls that ran along the east and west side of the bridge deck (above street level) have been removed and replaced with chain-link safety fencing. This work required coordination with the City of Philadelphia to ensure that traffic patterns and other public utilities remained functional during and after the installation.
Currently PECO is conducting structural maintenance for their electrical transmission infrastructure affixed to the bridge. The work began in August and is scheduled for completion by December.
The next phases of work will see repairs to the drainage system that carries rain and snow run-off from the viaduct deck, and repair waterproofing on the deck that supports the railroad tracks. Then CSX will replace the parapet walls removed earlier with new pre-cast concrete panels, and finally the spalled concrete of the underside of the viaduct will be resurfaced. The debris shield, which will have been in place from the beginning of the project, will be permanently removed when resurfacing takes place.
Firm schedules for subsequent phases of the work are under development now.
CSX appreciates the South Philadelphia community’s patience and flexibility while this project is underway. Safety is CSX’s highest priority, and one of CSX’s primary objectives is to minimize the impact of operations on the communities where it operates.
The viaduct is a long bridge structure that was built in the late 1920s, under agreements between the City of Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Railroad, a predecessor company of CSX. Similar to the famous High Line in New York City, the 25th Street Viaduct was designed to remove street-level railroad tracks from South Philadelphia while maintaining transportation infrastructure adequate to support the city’s growing economy.
The viaduct has been in continuous service for railroad operations since it was completed, and today it provides a vital freight-transportation link between Philadelphia businesses, the Port of Philadelphia and the North American railway network.
The 25th Street Viaduct Improvement Project will occur in four phases, beginning in mid-2015 and continuing into 2021.
Safety is CSX’s highest priority, and the 25th Street viaduct is regularly inspected to ensure that it is suitable for safely carrying the important cargo transported across it on a daily basis. The two sets of railroad tracks on top of the viaduct are visually inspected regularly. In addition, sophisticated internal inspections of the steel rails using ultrasound technology are conducted on a regular basis, and specialized equipment is also used to assess and assure that track geometry meets both U.S. government and internal CSX standards. The entire structure is inspected as part of CSX’s bridge management program. The Viaduct Improvement Project will help protect the safety of South Philadelphia residents and ensure the continued availability of this important transportation connection.
CSX will share more information about the Viaduct Improvement Project as it becomes available, including more detailed schedule information and advisories about changes to traffic patterns. Sign up here to receive updates when they are distributed.
Additional Facts about the Viaduct
|Purpose||The viaduct was designed to remove all street-level railroad tracks from South Philadelphia while maintaining transportation infrastructure adequate to support the city’s growing economy. Eliminating street-level tracks enabled development of an area that is now home to thousands of Philadelphia residents and businesses.|
|Location||North end: 25th Street and Washington Avenue
South end: 25th Street and West Passyunk Avenue
|Length||6,442 linear feet (more than 20 city blocks)|
|Deck Width||44 feet|
|Height||14 feet minimum above street level|
|Columns||The viaduct is supported by two rows of more than 150 reinforced-concrete columns, each 7.4 feet in diameter (more than 23 feet around), spaced 22 to 37 linear feet apart under the bridge. Anchored 9 feet into the ground, the columns are 23 feet apart laterally, allowing for two lanes of traffic beneath the bridge. The entire 25th Street right-of-way comprises four lanes of traffic. The City of Philadelphia owns and maintains the streets, sewers and other infrastructure beneath the viaduct.|
The viaduct carries freight trains that provide shipping connections between Philadelphia businesses, the Port of Philadelphia and the North American railway network.
Approximately 20 freight trains per day use the viaduct.
|Railroads||CSX owns the viaduct and uses it extensively to serve Philadelphia customers. The viaduct also provides a route for three other railroads under agreements with CSX. No passenger railroads use the bridge.|