SEPTA representatives gathered today with elected officials, community leaders and other dignitaries for a celebration marking the completion of the Crum Creek Viaduct Replacement project, made possible by state Act 89, Pennsylvania’s transportation funding bill.
“The completion of the Crum Creek Viaduct Replacement Project is an important milestone for SEPTA,” Board Chairman Pasquale T. Deon, Sr. said. “Thanks to dedicated state funding from Act 89, we were able to address a critical need and continue to advance improvements for our customers.”
The Crum Creek Viaduct which dated back to 1895 was acquired by SEPTA from Conrail in 1983. Three decades later, the viaduct reached the end of its useful life and required replacement to ensure safe and efficient rail service for nearly 11,000 riders who rely on the Media/Elwyn Line each day.
“Less than three years ago, SEPTA was faced with the possibility of discontinuing Media/Elwyn Line service due to a lack of capital funding to address our critical infrastructure needs along this line,” SEPTA General Manager, Jeffrey Knueppel said. “With funding made possible by Act 89, we were able to address critical infrastructure projects on this line, create and support jobs and ensure that this major transportation artery will continue to serve the Delaware County community and the region.”
Act 89 was passed in November 2013 to provide a stable source of funding for transportation improvements statewide, such as infrastructure and replacement of aging vehicles. With Act 89 in place, SEPTA has launched dozens of long-needed capital improvement projects throughout the transit system and across all modes of travel.
“Without the added investment from Act 89, it was very likely that this bridge would have had to close and that would have disrupted the lives of many people in this region,” said PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards. “One of Governor Wolf’s top agenda items is creating an environment for jobs that pay and PennDOT’s financial support for this project meets that goal.”
Several other improvements were made along the Media/Elwyn Line with Act 89 funds, including extensive overhauls to the century old Cobbs Creek, Darby Creek and Ridley Creek Viaducts and slope stabilization construction that included rock scaling and installation of retaining walls to secure the railroad embankment at the Media Station. SEPTA forces are replacing the catenary system along the Media/Elwyn Line and modernization upgrades to the Lenni and Morton substations were also completed.
“While the viaduct was being replaced during the eleven week summer outage on the Media/Elwyn Line, SEPTA was able to perform a significant amount of critical infrastructure improvements and system maintenance, thus reducing future inconveniences to our riders,” said Robert Lund, SEPTA Assistant General Manager of Engineering, Maintenance and Construction. “The cooperation and understanding of the affected communities, the public, and our riders played a key role in the success of the project.”
During the commemoration ceremony, officials unveiled a plaque to commemorate the completion of the project. The sign is prominently mounted on a bridge column above the Crum Creek.
“Critical Infrastructure projects like the Crum Creek Viaduct Project, provide jobs, continue economic growth, and provide safe and efficient rail services on the Media-Elwyn Line,” Pennsylvania State Senator Tom McGarrigle, whose district includes this area.
The new Crum Creek Viaduct is a 735-foot long steel and concrete structure comprised of five long spans, four piers and two abutments that replaced 17 simply supported steel spans. New bridge abutments were constructed in front of existing abutments and the new superstructure was slid into alignment halfway through the 11-week replacement project. The new bridge is designed for a 100-year lifespan.
Thomas E. Babcock, Vice Chairman and one of two Delaware County representatives on the SEPTA Board said, “Public transportation is important to the prosperity and economic growth of Delaware County. Completion of the Crum Creek Viaduct Replacement project is a result of our combined efforts to secure dedicated transportation funding.”
“Pennsylvania has some of the oldest infrastructure in the country, and it’s essential that we work with our local communities and transportation providers, like SEPTA, to upgrade our roads and bridges to ensure commuter safety,” Pennsylvania State Representative Leanne Krueger-Braneky, whose district includes this area, said. “That’s why I’m thrilled to see the Crum Creek Viaduct reopen. This vital cog in the Media/Elwyn Regional Rail line is now safer than it was before and built to stand for hopefully another century serving local commuters.”
Following the return of Regional Rail service in September, crews immediately began work to restore the site. Thus far, crews have reopened the Leiper-Smedley trail and public access to trails below the Crum Creek Viaduct. Working closely with Swarthmore College and Scott Arboretum, the eastern and western slopes have been graded, seeded and planted with over 5,000 trees and bushes. Crumhenge,an area located adjacent to the viaduct where unique stone slabs were located for generations, had to be removed during construction. The Crumhenge area was also laid out and re-installed. Wetland restoration work is ongoing.
For more information about the Crum Creek Viaduct Replacement Project, visit: https://www.septa.org/rebuilding/bridge-rehab/crum-creek.html For Video footage of the project, visit: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLKXdFDcYwsOdkt9TqQbD7thPCxF0yRF_T.