Renovations Planned for Crumbling 25th Street Viaduct in South Philly

CSX and Councilman Kenyatta Johnson announced the plans today.

The 25th Street Viaduct, as planned by 2020 | Rendering: CSX

The 25th Street Viaduct, as planned by 2020 | Rendering: CSX

You know that crumbling railroad  bridge that spans from roughly Washington Avenue to West Passyunk Avenue on 25th Street in South Philly? Well, as ominous as it looks, the structure itself is actually sound and the good news is that it won’t look like a withering eyesore for much longer.

CSX and Councilman Kenyatta Johnson announced a “multi-year, multi-phase” project to improve the structure back to its “original condition and appearance,” according to a press release.

Look for the project to occur in four phases starting in June through the year 2020, which really isn’t as far away as it sounds. Here’s the timeline from the press release:

  • Phase one (June through December 2015) will consist of installing a debris shield along the underside of the viaduct. While it doesn’t seem like much of a start, it’s a $4 million project in and of itself and will allow for crews to remove the parapet walls.
  • In Phase two (to start in 2016), CSX will repair and replace the drainage system and repair and waterproof the decking that supports the railroad tracks.
  • Phase three (to start in 2017) is when CSX will install new pre-cast panels to replaced parapet walls removed in Phase one.
  • Phase four (2018 to 2020) will see the debris “wrap” permanently removed and a resurfacing of the exposed concrete on the underside of the viaduct.

Well then, it sounds like in five short years, we’ll have ourselves a new and improved bridge on our hands. As a side note, the 25th Street viaduct has long been the muse for transportation enthusiasts, including an elevated rail line that sought to better connect the Stadium District to South Philly and Center City.

On a more sobering level, much has been made recently of the presence of oil tankers cutting through the middle of densely populated urban areas. The damage caused by derailment could be catastrophic, something Philly got a small–and thankfully harmless–taste of last January when six tankers came off the rails, leaving one of them leaning off of the single-lane Schuylkill River Arsenal Bridge for a few days.