Thanks to additional state capital funding from Pennsylvania’s new transportation funding bill, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) will embark on a complete replacement of the aging Crum Creek Viaduct, the 900-foot railroad bridge that carries trains on SEPTA’s Media/Elwyn regional rail line between Swarthmore and points west. The viaduct passes over much of the Crum Woods, the 220-acre woodland adjacent to the developed portion of the college campus.
The viaduct was built in the 1890s and acquired by SEPTA in the early 1980s. In 1983, SEPTA completed a renovation project to extend the viaduct’s working life by 25 years — but now, more than 30 years later, a replacement is overdue. In the fall, SEPTA officials said they would be forced to end service on the Media/Elwyn Line if they did not receive the necessary funds to replace the viaduct and make other, smaller infrastructure repairs. Then, after much political wrangling, the state legislature passed Act 89, which will provide $2.3 billion for state transportation projects in the coming years.
The replacement project will commence in around two years and will cost roughly $60 million, said Andrew Busch, a SEPTA spokesman. The design work is ongoing, and the bid for proposals for contracts to replace the viaduct will occur in the coming months, he said. SEPTA has not yet released a formal timeline for the project.
SEPTA does not anticipate that the replacement project will render the line inoperable, but it may cause service interruptions. “There will be a period of time where we will have alternate service in the form of shuttle busing, since there isn’t a way to reroute trains on the Media/Elwyn line,” Busch said.
In the meantime, SEPTA will continue to keep the Crum Creek Viaduct in operable condition.
“We will continue to have ongoing maintenance and repairs on the viaduct to keep it in condition to operate,” said Busch.
SEPTA has also said it will begin to move forward on a project to extend the Media/Elwyn line three miles to a new station in Wawa, PA.