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Piles of Dirt Under I-95 at Girard Ave. Pose No Risk, PennDOT Assures

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By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — After Delaware highway officials discovered a giant dirt pile caused a bridge on Interstate 495 to tilt (see related story), closing the road indefinitely (another related story), Penndot is reassuring drivers there is nothing to fear from dirt being temporarily stored beneath an I-95 overpass in Philadelphia.

The dirt, currently piled under the highway at Girard Avenue, is being used to build embankments for two new rail bridges that are part of an improvement project for the Girard Avenue interchange.

Penndot spokesman Gene Blaum says this dirt pile was nowhere near the size of the Delaware pile, and it was only there a few weeks — it’s already being relocated to its permanent location.

Not only that, Blaum says, the bridges are nothing alike.

“The support piles that are drilled into the bedrock under I-95 are much shorter than the support piles on the I-495 bridge, making the longer piles more susceptible to lateral forces,” he explains.

Blaum says Penndot will eventually be storing the dirt at the old Cramp Shipyard, but it found historic artifacts while preparing the site, so right now it’s doing an archeological excavation there.

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