Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Bridgeport Viaduct to reopen for Norristown high-speed line

A four-month renovation is complete. Passengers had been bused over the bridge during construction.

Bridgeport Viaduct to reopen for Norristown high-speed line

Commuters on the Norristown High-Speed Rail Line -- you might want to sit down for this.

Or rather, stay sitting down, since the Bridgeport Viaduct project is complete and starting next Monday (Nov. 11) you'll no longer have to disembark to be bused across the Schuylkill River.

SEPTA had been shuttling passengers between the Norristown Transit Center and the Bridgeport Station since July, while crews replaced timber and ties on the 3,175-foot single-track bridge.  The bridge was over 100 years old and badly in need of repair.

“The bridge ties that sit directly upon the steel structure and hold the rail in 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 project cost $7.6 million and, as promised, was completed in four months.

But SEPTA officials say more a extensive $30 million rehabilitation plan -- tabled since 2011 due to lack of funding -- is still needed to ensure the viaduct can remain in service in the coming decades.  Those repairs include cleaning and painting to prevent corrosion, substantial structural repairs and replacement of the timber deck.

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Jessica Parks and Carolyn Davis
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