June 18, 2010
By Anthony Campisi
The Fishtown Neighborhood Association got updates on Water Department and SEPTA projects in their neighborhood Thursday night.
Water Department engineer Bill Dobbins described water main work along Delaware Avenue that’s been timed to coincide with street work associated with SugarHouse Casino construction.
The work, which has partially closed Delaware Avenue, represents the first of six phases of a long-term Philadelphia Water Department effort to reduce flooding in the neighborhood which is caused by runoff from heavy storms.
This phase, which will switch in a few weeks to the other side of Delaware Avenue, should be completed in August. Work will then proceed deeper into the neighborhood, with the project scheduled for completion during fiscal year 2015 — though Dobbins said the date could be pushed back.
Water Department workers are laying down a parallel sewer system to the existing one to handle storm surges, and Dobbins said the narrow configuration of the streets makes adding additional sewer capacity difficult.
Steve D’Antonio, SEPTA’s manager of city service planning, and Lydia Gross, manager of track and civil engineering, gave an overview of the Route 15 trolley project.
Because the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will be closing the Girard Avenue Bridge during its Interstate 95 restoration project, SEPTA is constructing a new turnback loop for the trolley along Delaware Avenue, near the casino.
Trolley service along Richmond Street will be halted for about two years during construction, and SEPTA will provide shuttle bus service to the Girard Avenue El stop.
About 1,100 of the Route 15’s 13,000 daily passengers ride the trolley along the segment that will receive shuttle busing. Trolleys along the new route will stop on Girard Avenue and at the turnback. Gross said SEPTA was considering another stop along the route, but no decision has been made.
Both Gross and D’Antonio said SEPTA may consider implementing a new, short Route 15 that would terminate at the Delaware Avenue turnback. But both stressed that trolley service will be restored to the Port Richmond section of the route as soon as PennDOT’s work is done and that the construction had nothing to do with the casino.
Construction of the new trolley tracks to Delaware Avenue is scheduled to begin in July and last three months, with several neighborhood parking spots being lost to allow trolleys and shuttle buses to turn properly.
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