SEPTA has received an $86.8 million federal grant for seven projects designed to improve the transit system’s resilience to severe weather events, officials announced today. The resources come from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Emergency Relief Program, which was funded in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
These improvements will allow SEPTA to harden core elements of its infrastructure to protect against weather-related impacts. The Authority’s needs were documented by the SEPTA Infrastructure Resilience Program, and the federal grant supporting the projects is the result of the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013.
“SEPTA would like to thank the Southeastern Pennsylvania Congressional Delegation for their work to highlight the critical needs that will be addressed with this funding,” said SEPTA General Manager Joseph M. Casey. “This advocacy from our local elected officials was key in gaining the FTA’s support.”
Casey added: “Through the Emergency Relief Program, the FTA is helping SEPTA take proactive measures to limit damage from severe weather events. This will help keep SEPTA – and the Philadelphia region – moving amid the challenging conditions major storms leave in their wake.”
Funded projects include:
- Railroad Embankment and Slope Stabilization Project: $18.7 million to stabilize and harden soil and rock slopes along a series of vulnerable 19th century railroad cuts in Montgomery and Delaware Counties. Rail service through these cuts serving the Warminster, West Trenton, and Lansdale/Doylestown and Media/Elwyn Regional Rail Lines carry 48,870 weekday riders – or more than 16 million annual trips, which represents nearly half of SEPTA’s entire Regional Rail ridership.
- Sharon Hill Line Flood Mitigation Project: $3.8 million to construct a pumped drainage system that will provide relief from flooding on the Route 102 Sharon Hill Trolley Line in Delaware County. A frequently flooded underpass along the line forces SEPTA to rely on a bus substitution program to detour service around the high-water area more than a dozen times each year. Bus substitution is employed at a significant cost and disruption to passengers.
- Railroad Signal Power Reinforcement Project: $32 million to reinforce signal power across the Regional Rail system. Non-insulated cable and aging power distribution systems have proven highly vulnerable to extreme weather. During extreme weather events, downed branches and trees often breach non-insulated cable, interfering with the distribution of signal power and causing significant delays that ripple throughout the entire Regional Rail network.
- Ancillary Control Center Project: $9 million to construct a back-up control center facility at a strategic location in the City of Philadelphia to allow for remote dispatching of transit service in the event of an emergency.
- Subway Pump Room Emergency Power Project: $3.7 million to install an integrated series of emergency power systems for pump rooms throughout SEPTA’s subway tunnels in the City of Philadelphia. Pumps are active all-day, every day, pumping out groundwater from the subway tunnels. An integrated emergency power network will help to protect passengers and infrastructure from the risk of flooding that could result from widespread power outages.
- Jenkintown Area Flood Mitigation Project: $15 million to study and implement improvements to the hydrologic conditions at Jenkintown, a key hub in SEPTA’s Regional Rail network in Montgomery County. During heavy rain events, the convergence of three contributory areas (the Tacony Creek, Baeder Run and Tookany Creek) often overrun SEPTA’s railroad right of way, disrupting service. The study will identify opportunities to better manage water flow from extreme weather.
- Manayunk/Norristown Line Shoreline Stabilization Project: $4.5 million to stabilize 2.45 miles of railroad right of way adjacent to the Schuylkill River in Montgomery County. The Manayunk/Norristown Line is one of SEPTA’s most flood-prone assets and was the focus of a comprehensive FTA-funded vulnerability and risk assessment undertaken in 2012. The Schuylkill River has experienced more than half of its highest crests in recorded history at Norristown since 2003.
For more information about the FTA’s Emergency Relief Program, visit http://www.fta.dot.gov/.