Sharon Hill, PA- Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), joined by SEPTA and local officials, discussed how a grant that Senator Casey advocated for will allow SEPTA to undertake projects that will boost the transit system’s ability to withstand severe weather events. Last week, Casey announced that SEPTA had been awarded nearly $90 million in grants to make repairs to infrastructure that was damaged during Hurricane Sandy. After SEPTA struggled to get repair money from the Department of Transportation, Casey wrote a letter to DOT pushing for the funds and personally raised the issue during a meeting with Secretary Foxx.
“Severe and unpredictable weather has become the norm for far too many communities in Pennsylvania. Making these improvements will help prepare Philadelphia and Southeastern Pennsylvania from future storms,” Senator Casey said. “Safe and reliable transportation is critical to Southeastern Pennsylvania’s future. These upgrades will work to ensure that our public transit systems can better sustain extreme storms.”
Funded projects include:
• Sharon Hill Line Flood Mitigation Project: $3.8 million to construct a pumped drainage system that will provide relief from flooding on the Route 102 Sharon Hill Trolley Line in Delaware County. A frequently flooded underpass along the line forces SEPTA to rely on a bus substitution program to detour service around the high-water area more than a dozen times each year. Bus substitution is employed at a significant cost and disruption to passengers.
• Railroad Embankment and Slope Stabilization Project: $18.7 million to stabilize and harden soil and rock slopes along a series of vulnerable 19th century railroad cuts in Montgomery and Delaware Counties. Rail service through these cuts serving the Warminster, West Trenton, and Lansdale/Doylestown and Media/Elwyn Regional Rail Lines carry 48,870 weekday riders – or more than 16 million annual trips, which represents nearly half of SEPTA’s entire Regional Rail ridership.
• Railroad Signal Power Reinforcement Project: $32 million to reinforce signal power across the Regional Rail system. Non-insulated cable and aging power distribution systems have proven highly vulnerable to extreme weather. During extreme weather events, downed branches and trees often breach non-insulated cable, interfering with the distribution of signal power and causing significant delays that ripple throughout the entire Regional Rail network.
• Ancillary Control Center Project: $9 million to construct a back-up control center facility at a strategic location in the City of Philadelphia to allow for remote dispatching of transit service in the event of an emergency.
• Subway Pump Room Emergency Power Project: $3.7 million to install an integrated series of emergency power systems for pump rooms throughout SEPTA’s subway tunnels in the City of Philadelphia. Pumps are active all-day, every day, pumping out groundwater from the subway tunnels. An integrated emergency power network will help to protect passengers and infrastructure from the risk of flooding that could result from widespread power outages.
• Jenkintown Area Flood Mitigation Project: $15 million to study and implement improvements to the hydrologic conditions at Jenkintown, a key hub in SEPTA’s Regional Rail network in Montgomery County. During heavy rain events, the convergence of three contributory areas (the Tacony Creek, Baer Run, and Wissahickon Creek) often overrun SEPTA’s railroad right of way, disrupting service. The study will identify opportunities to better manage water flow from extreme weather.
• Manayunk/Norristown Line Shoreline Stabilization Project: $4.5 million to stabilize 2.45 miles of railroad right of way adjacent to the Schuylkill River in Montgomery County. The Manayunk/Norristown Line is one of SEPTA’s most flood-prone assets and was the focus of a comprehensive FTA-funded vulnerability and risk assessment undertaken in 2012. The Schuylkill River has experienced more than half of its highest crests in recorded history at Norristown since 2003.