Interstate 95 has long been criticized as an eyesore and neighborhood divider along the Delaware River waterfront. And for years, ambitious plans to cap the highway and bridge the divide between Center City and the river have been circulating. Now, those pipe-dream plans may finally come to fruition.
In his budget address this Thursday, Mayor Jim Kenney is going to propose $90 million to cap I-95, distributed out over a six-year period, PlanPhilly reports. The rest of the funds for the $225 million project would come from state and philanthropic donors.
The capping project has been in play since 2007, with Hargreaves Associates behind the latest designs released in 2014 as part of the Master Plan for the Central Delaware. Previous proposals called for capping the entire interstate, but the most recent plans include covering the highway with 11 acres of green space between Walnut and Chestnut streets instead.
In January 2016, just before Mayor Kenney took office, Mayor Michael Nutter first announced plans for a $10 million study that focused on the capping of the area around Penn's Landing, including the interstate and Columbus Boulevard between Chestnut and Walnut streets. At the time, the plan was estimated to cost $250 million.
Although the project has been in the works for seven years, there is no committed construction timeline. “Right now, the project is in design and engineering so it will be a little bit of time before anybody sees anything happening specifically with the cap project,” Anne Fadullon, the city’s Director of Planning and Development, told PlanPhilly.