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15762Norristown Pa. - SEPTA Bridgeport viaduct reopens Nov. 11

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  • Edward Havens
    Nov 5, 2013
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      SEPTA will reopen the Norristown High Speed Line [NHSL] Bridgeport to Norristown viaduct over the Schuylkill River Valley Nov. 11 following a four-month repair project, the Times Herald reports. Shuttle buses have provided interim service during the work project. The span is one of the various deteriorated bridges that prompted SEPTA to issue a "doomsday" austerity budget unless it gets more state capital funding for infrastructure rehabilitation and fleet replacement. The plan calls for busing all eight city and suburban trolley and light rail lines, cutting back NHSL to Bryn Mawr, and eliminating nine of 15 commuter rail lines. The Doylestown portion of the Lansdale Regional Rail line would be shut down and the Thorndale line, busiest on the system, would be cut back to Malvern. The NHSL viaduct was repaired at a cost of $7.6 million but $30 million is needed for a permanent fix:
      <http://tinyurl.com/msxndc2>
      "SEPTA's Bridgeport Viaduct will reopen after four-month repair on Nov. 11
      Bridgeport viaduct will open soon after renovations to the span that crosses the Schuylkill River betweeen Norristown and Bridgeport November 4, 2013. Photo by Gene Walsh / Times Herald Staff

      By SEPTA, For The Times Herald

      Posted: 11/04/13, 11:27 AM EST 

      BRIDGEPORT — Full train service between the 69th Street Transportation Center and Norristown Transportation Center (NTC) on SEPTA’s Norristown High Speed Line (NHSL) will resume Monday, Nov. 11.

      This follows a four-month repair project that closed SEPTA’s Bridgeport Viaduct — the 3,175 foot-single track bridge that carries the NHSL over the Schuylkill River between Bridgeport Station and NTC.

      During the project, shuttle buses replaced train service between NTC and Bridgeport.

      The Viaduct closure allowed crews to complete a bridge timber and tie replacement project and perform minor structural repairs to the 102-year old bridge.

      Work included the replacement of all track ties, bridge timbers, track level walkway and railing system; waterproofing; and some structural repairs, including structural steel repairs to the NHSL station at NTC.

      “The bridge ties that sit directly upon the steel structure and hold the railin place were rotting and failing,” said Jeff Knueppel, SEPTA’s Deputy General Manager.

      “Without full timber replacement, we would have had no choice but to permanently close the bridge. The completion of the project allows us to resume the safe operation of our trains across the Viaduct.”

      The $7.6 million project was completed by Railworks Track Systems of Sewell, N.J.

      “We approached this project with an aggressive schedule in order to have as little inconvenience to our passengers as possible,” said Knueppel.

      “Our team worked 12-to-14 hour days to make sure we met our November goal.”

      “The well-being of our customers and employees is our top priority,” said SEPTA General Manager Joseph M. Casey.

      “We appreciate the patience of our riders during this four-month closure as we worked make the Viaduct safe for travel. We also thank the Bridgeport community for their understanding during the construction period.”

      While the bridge timber and tie replacement allows SEPTA to maintain safe train operations between Bridgeport and NTC, an extensive rehabilitation program for the Bridgeport Viaduct structure is needed in order to bring the bridge into a state of good repair and to extend its service life by 40 years.

      This project included cleaning and painting the entire Viaduct to protect against additional corrosion and making substantial structural repairs.

      A significant loss of capital funding over the last three years has forced SEPTA to defer major construction to the Viaduct despite designs for timber deck replacement and structural rehabilitation programs having been complete since 2011.

      The estimated cost of the structural repairs, painting and timber replacement is $30 million.

      SEPTA had previously repaired the Viaduct twice before.

      In 1985, the bridge timbers, rail and power delivery system were completely replaced and the steel was painted and repaired. In 2009, the bridge piers were reinforced against scour.

      For more information about the Viaduct repair project, visit http://www.septa.org/construction/projects/bridgeport-viaduct/index.html. For NHSL service information, visit http://www.septa.org/service/highspeed/ or call 215-580-7800.

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      Edward B. Havens

      Tucson, Ariz.