Mt. Airy’s surprise traffic jams

If you get stuck in rush hour traffic on the highway or near Center City that’s one thing, but on a neighborhood street in Mt. Airy? Some neighbors and unsuspecting motorists are getting a taste of how a rusty old pipe can create a lot of modern day hassles. 

At a recent West Mt. Airy Neighbors meeting, it seemed clear that residents understand the need to replace the underground water pipes along West Allens Lane, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a little frustration out there. 

Just remember this:

Sections of West Allens Lane are closed and McCallum is closed between Mt. Airy Ave. and Allens Lane.


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The Philadelphia Water Department is replacing infrastructure under Allens Lane from Wissahickon Avenue to Germantown Avenue as part of its Capital Program. The water mains being replaced in this project were installed in 1892 and have outlived their useful lifespan.

• 5,100 ft. of 12-inch water main from Wayne Ave. to Cresheim Rd.

• 1,535 ft. of 16-inch water main from Cresheim Rd. to Germantown Ave.

• 30 inch and 20 inch valves and pipes in the intersections of McCallum St and Allens Lane, Wissahickon Ave and Allens Lane, Cresheim Rd and Allens Lane

• Installation of 16 new fire hydrants on Allens Lane

Although Mt. Airy ranks up there as one of the nation’s most easy going communities, a little anger seeps out when thinking about this project. 

Dayle Friedman, a resident directly impacted by the project, said she understands the need for the water department to replace the pipes. “I saw the pipes, the big hole (the pipes) look incredibly corroded.”

But now that her street is like a major thoroughfare? “It would have been nice as a community member to have notice about this project,” she said. “The city is capable of robo-calling.”


Why it’s a problem

Although the road construction began in October, it wasn’t until the January closure of McCallum between Mt. Airy Ave. and Allens Lane that traffic back ups became a major problem for neighbors. Before it was just east and westbound traffic in the area that was being detoured, with McCallum closed north and southbound drivers began flooding into the quieter side streets.

The project is expected to be completed by March of 2012.

NewsWorks wants to know what you think about this. How could this project have been done better? What are the best detours around the current closed sections?

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