WHYY: Philadelphia secures $158 million for Chinatown Stitch project

“We will finally be repairing a historic wrong,” said U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle.

An aerial view of I-676 in Chinatown
The Chinatown Stitch will cover two-and-a-half blocks of the Vine Street Expressway, from 10th Street and Vine to 13th Street. (6abc)

Federal funding is going to pay for the covering of the underground portion of the Vine Street Expressway. The goal is to reconnect, or “stitch,” together a fractured community.

The Chinatown Stitch project will cover the existing below-ground Vine Street Expressway from 10th Street to 13th Street, and is designed to provide greater connectivity between the Chinatown neighborhood that spans both sides of the highway.

U.S. Rep Brendan Boyle said the almost $160 million in federal funding is a major win for the Philadelphia delegation.

“We will finally be repairing a historic wrong, an injustice that was done to a community. It will be a transformative day for our city,” Boyle said.

Boyle said the project will also provide good, family-sustaining jobs for the length of the project.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey said Philadelphia is one of the first municipalities to receive funding for this type of project through President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan.

The city is also in the construction phase of capping a portion of I-95, connecting Old City to the Delaware River waterfront at Penn’s Landing.

John Chin, executive director or the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation, believes capping the highway is key to reuniting the Chinatown community.

“The core value of PCDC is planning for the people by the people, and that’s what this project is all about,” said Chin.

Chin praised the continuous effort to cover the roadway, which would also include traffic calming measures on a major above-ground thorofare.

U.S. Rep Dwight Evans said the funding was a team effort of the Philadelphia delegation.

“Promise made, promise kept. We don’t do this by ourselves. We do this as a team,” said Evans. “It’s key to understand the importance of the effort. We want people to know to make the connection of the services that happen within their communities. This is something long overdue.”

The Chinatown stitch project will most likely start construction in 2028 after extensive design and construction plans are finalized.