SEPTA has been holding together the Bridgeport Viaduct with steel ties and, literally, glue to keep spikes in place. Now, the transit agency has shut down the 100-year-old Montgomery County bridge over the Schuylkill River for four months for emergency repairs.
Riders of the Norristown High Speed Line will be transferred to shuttle buses between the Norristown Transportation Center and Bridgeport Station for four months while the rail ties are replaced.
The transit agency says shortfalls in its capital budget will mean greater disruptions for passengers.
SEPTA’s deputy general manager Jeff Knueppel reported that repairs had been put off because of funding shortfalls.
“This kind of a situation where the bridge is kind of running us instead of us running the bridge is what we don’t really like,” he said.
Since SEPTA can afford to do just the bare minimum, he said, Norristown line passengers can expect future disruptions for structural renovations and painting.
“We currently have a backlog of projects to bring our system to a state of good repair,” said CEO Richard Burnfield. “We’re holding the system together best that we can.”
According to Burnfield, SEPTA’s funding is at a 15-year low, while ridership is at a 23-year high.
The Pennsylvania Legislature was set to pass an anticipated $2 billion transportation-funding package, but failed to do so before the summer recess.
SEPTA has a close eye on other viaducts that may require emergency attention, including the Crum Creek viaduct in Swarthmore on the heavily used Media-Elwyn line.