Several long-needed rail infrastructure improvements in Delaware County will move forward this year thanks to newly available transportation funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, SEPTA and local officials announced April 21.
State Representatives Margo Davidson, Greg Vitali, Thaddeus Kirkland and others joined SEPTA at the Darby Creek Viaduct along the Media/Elwyn Regional Rail Line to discuss projects planned to begin construction in the near future under Act 89, the transportation funding bill approved by state lawmakers in November.
Among the first projects advanced by SEPTA will be critical upgrades to the Darby Creek, Ridley Creek and Cobbs Creek viaducts, including replacement of bridge timbers, structural repairs and painting. SEPTA had been forced to delay these and other improvements for several years due to funding cuts, and the deteriorating condition of the structures would have eventually forced the suspension of service on the Media/Elwyn Line, which serves nearly 11,000 riders a day.
“With Act 89 in place, we can keep SEPTA and Delaware County moving,” said Rep. Davidson. “These new resources will ensure residents have safe and reliable transportation, and the work to make these critical repairs will create and support jobs for local residents.”
“Transportation infrastructure is vital to the economy of Delaware County, the region and the entire Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” said Rep. Vitali. “The critical upgrades to our roads and rails provided for under Act 89 are essential to ensuring our economic competitiveness and viability moving forward.”
“The residents of Delaware County rely on SEPTA to get to work, school, doctor’s appointments, and many destinations in-between,” said Rep. Kirkland.”The upgrades that are now possible with these new resources will help us get people where they need to go, and in a safe and timely fashion.”
Construction on the Cobbs Creek and Darby Creek projects is scheduled to begin this fall, with Ridley Creek following next year. Meanwhile, SEPTA is also moving forward with the design phase on a project to replace the Crum Creek Viaduct, with construction expected to start in late 2015. All of these structures date back to the late 1800s and are well beyond their useful service lives.
“This work that we’re embarking on along the Media/Elwyn Line is indicative of the type of core infrastructure upgrades we’ll be doing system-wide,” said SEPTA General Manager Joseph M. Casey. “Other key projects include overhauls to 1930s-era power substations and replacement of rail vehicles and trolleys that date back more than 30 years.”