PATCO set for second phase of track work over Ben Franklin Bridge

 In May, Delaware River Port Authority CEO John Hanson, hands information cards to drivers in Camden at the toll lanes of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge between Camden and Philadelphia. The second phase of the PATCO train track replacement project over the bridge is set to begin this week. (AP Photo, file)

In May, Delaware River Port Authority CEO John Hanson, hands information cards to drivers in Camden at the toll lanes of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge between Camden and Philadelphia. The second phase of the PATCO train track replacement project over the bridge is set to begin this week. (AP Photo, file)

PATCO commuters are in for round two of the track replacement project over the Benjamin Franklin Bridge starting Friday.

CEO John Hanson says the second phase of the construction project was moved up to take advantage of a dip in train use before the Labor Day holiday.

“I’ve authorized them to start five days early,” he said. “My feeling was that the week before Labor Day, we are going to have pretty low ridership so we’ve got a more advantageous gap outage schedule. So we’ll start the week before Labor Day, so that we don’t get on the other side in October, going into November, and need more time.”

During the work, PATCO will run trains both ways across the Ben Franklin Bridge on a single track 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Gaps in service to accommodate the track work will be fewer and shorter than during the first phase of the reconstruction project.

“In the afternoon, the gaps are reduced by 62 minutes, and total gap time is approximately one third of what it was during the last track outage,” Hanson said Wednesday.

In the morning, commuters traveling west into Philadelphia from South Jersey will face three service gaps — and Hanson says they will be 40 minutes shorter this time around.

Riders are encouraged to consult updated timetables available at the stations this week and at www.ridepatco.org for information on the schedule and the project.

Work is expected to continue until Oct. 21.

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