I-95 Construction in Center City and South Philadelphia

Above, completed but unopened elevated 8-lane I-95 near South Street, August 1974. The suspension bridge in the background is the Ben Franklin Bridge, which crosses the Delaware River between Philadelphia and Camden, New Jersey. I-95 ends a few hundred yards from where I am standing. If you look closely, you can see the beginning of the ramp to the Crosstown Expressway. The Crosstown Expressway would have run east-west along the Bainbridge - South Street corridor, but it was canceled in the late-1970s.

Above, I-95 northbound approaching the tunnel cover near Penn's Landing in Center City. The tunnel is about 1,700 feet long, it has 4 lanes each way for I-95, and 2-lane tubes on each side for ramps. The intent of the tunnel was to provide a landscaped park between the downtown and the waterfront.

Above, I-95 northbound approaching the tunnel cover near Penn's Landing in Center City. I have walked from the previous photo spot to the south portal of the tunnel.

Above, I am standing just south of the Ben Franklin Bridge, looking south. The tunnel is in the distance. Penn's Landing is on the left, and the downtown is on the right. The relocated Market Street Subway passes through this area at or very near to where I am standing. The Market Street Subway formerly made a sharp 90 degree 10mph curve as it turned from Market Street to ascend to the Frankford Elevated. I-95 passed through this area, so the subway/elevated was relocated. There is a much larger radius curve as the subway sweeps around to the north. The subway comes to the surface in the median of I-95, and follows the I-95 median for almost a mile, and then leaves the I-95 right-of-way as the Frankford Avenue El. One of the stations, the Spring Garden Street Station, is in the I-95 median.

Above, southbound I-95 with the Walt Whitman Bridge passing overhead. I-95 from the Walt Whitman in South Philly to Front Street in Center City was completed and opened to traffic in 1979. The section from the Walt Whitman to Enterprise Avenue near Philadelphia International Airport was opened in 1976. The section from Front Street to PA-413 in Bucks County was opened by 1969.

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By Scott M. Kozel, PENNWAYS