Major Wissahickon bridge getting an upgrade

The Walnut Lane Bridge over the Wissahickon Creek is getting a facelift, thanks to a $7.1 million project approved by the Delaware Regional Planning Commission Board Thursday.

Much of the money for the project is coming from an excess in federal reimbursements to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

The 102-year-old bridge is on the National Register of Historic Places and is rated structurally deficient.

The federal money is also being used to pay for an $18 million bridge replacement in Bucks County for a portion of Route 1 that passes through Middletown Township. While the $250 million projected cost to fully reconstruct the crucial highway is unfunded, PennDOT decided to break this particular portion of the project out to address safety concerns.

The DVRPC Board also approved the allocation of nearly $12 million in revenue derived from red light enforcement cameras located at 19 intersections in Philadelphia. About $8.5 million will be spent in the city, with the rest split among the suburban Pennsylvania counties.

The city portion of the revenue will, among other things, pay for the retiming of 400 signalized intersections.

The board also approved a nearly $1 million project ― most of which is covered by a federal earmark ― for transportation improvements along D’Harnoncourt Drive, which serves the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Though improvements were made to the road as part of the construction of the museum’s new parking garage in 2009, this project would make improvements to the roadbed and other sidewalks and curbs.

And in an attempt to utilize a federal funding stream before money is lost at the end of the fiscal year, the board approved a series of projects throughout South Jersey. The funds were originally allocated for projects that have been delayed.

On the planning front, the DVRPC Board also authorized to give SEPTA a hand for a new alternatives analysis studying the feasibility of extending the Norristown High Speed Line to King of Prussia. The DVRPC will provide analysis services for the authority, which hopes to win federal New Starts funding for the project.

The board also elected a new slate officers for next year, with Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Hoeffel being replaced by Camden County Freeholder Louis Cappelli Jr. as chairman. The chairmanship rotates between the states.

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