Since 2009 there has been an ongoing project to widen highway I-95.
One of the most recent developments in the project is the new partnership formed between researchers from Temple University’s College of Engineering and Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation.
The I-95 project includes researchers and students in multiple disciplines within Temple University and Villanova. Outside of the College of Engineering, there are also professors contributing to this research from the department of Earth and Environmental Science.
The partnership between PennDOT and university researchers is the first infrastructure project of it’s kind due to the high level of the researchers’ involvement the development of the new highway.
The construction on I-95 will require a new storm water management system that was not built for the previously existing highway. This partnership aims to find better ways to manage storm water runoff from the I-95 expressway.
Dr. Erica McKenzie, who is an assistant professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, is currently one of the professors contributing to this research.
She and her students are studying how trace metals that can be found in exist in storm water from road runoff, such as the copper from brakes, zinc from the tire composite, and materials used in de-icing techniques on highways effect their surrounding environments.
Along with this, Dr. McKenzie and her students are also trying to find out how quickly these metals are entering storm water in order to figure out how to manage their presence in these environments.
One of Dr. Kenzie’s graduate students, John Kelley says that using the data they collect will allow them “to calibrate a model that we can use to hopefully predict how these bumps will perform given a certain storm event.”
Dr. McKenzie says one of the most exciting aspects of this research project is the future response from Philadelphia’s citizens on the move and developments towards green infrastructure.