BELLMAWR — A preliminary report is blaming excessive groundwater for playing a role in the collapse of a retaining wall on the Route 42/Interstate 295 interchange project in March.

The wall, which is part of the 14-year, $900 million Direct Connection project, crumbled at the end of March. That forced the DOT to close the right lane to stabilize the wall, creating all day traffic delays. The roadway on top of the wall also slid apart.

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"The report is not finalized yet, but what we have learned so far is that excessive ground water played a part in the collapse. As soon as the report is finalized and we are able to release it, we will," DOT spokesman Steve Schapiro told us.

The wall has since been reinforced and the structure is stable, according to Schaprio. He said the department is reviewing several options for reconstructing the wall but a final decision has not been made. All lanes are open with periodic closures to allow for work.

The Direct Connection project will allow through traffic on I-295 instead of having to weave through lanes. Drivers currently have to slow to 35 mph for a ramp, causing crashes and congestion.

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