UPDATE: PennDOT work on Girard Ave. bridge starts

With work start­ing on the Gir­ard Av­en­ue in­ter­change in Fishtown, the Route 15 trol­leys will likely be miss­ing from Rich­mond Street for a few years, us­ing a new loop on Frank­ford Av­en­ue in­stead.

The his­tor­ic Route 15 trol­leys will be miss­ing from the river wards straight through Christ­mas Eve.

And with con­struc­tion sched­uled for the Gir­ard Av­en­ue in­ter­change with In­ter­state 95, the green-and-cream neigh­bor­hood icons will likely be de­toured from Rich­mond Street for sev­er­al years.

SEPTA spokes­man An­drew Busch said buses re­placed the trol­leys start­ing Oct. 30 due to track re­place­ment in West Phil­adelphia.

They are sched­uled to re­turn Dec. 24, al­though weath­er could im­pact the con­struc­tion sched­ule.

Busch said the trol­leys will be us­ing the newly con­struc­ted Frank­ford Av­en­ue loop — a sec­tion of track that re­dir­ects the trol­ley at the Sug­ar­House casino on Delaware Av­en­ue — but that there is no date set for when that change will take place.

The loop was put in place earli­er this year to pre­pare for con­struc­tion on a sec­tion of the track that takes the trol­ley un­der I-95 be­fore it heads north on Rich­mond Street.

PennDOT is sched­uled to re­place that sec­tion of the tracks and much of Rich­mond Street dur­ing an on­go­ing I-95 widen­ing pro­ject, and Rich­mond Street is ex­pec­ted to be without the trol­ley for sev­er­al years.

Busch said SEPTA will start us­ing the Frank­ford Av­en­ue loop when PennDOT closes the Rich­mond Street sec­tion.

PennDOT re­leased a state­ment last week say­ing that con­struc­tion was tent­at­ively set to be­gin Nov. 1, so when the trol­leys do re­turn around Christ­mas, they’ll likely be us­ing the Frank­ford Av­en­ue loop.

“The use of the loop and shut­tling on that por­tion will start in con­junc­tion with PennDOT’s work on the Gir­ard/I-95 in­ter­change,” Busch said last week.  “We’ll ba­sic­ally be fol­low­ing the con­struc­tion sched­ule PennDOT has for that pro­ject. We will re­turn full trol­ley ser­vice to East Gir­ard/Rich­mond as soon as the PennDOT pro­ject at the in­ter­change is com­pleted.”

Route 15 cov­ers all of Gir­ard Av­en­ue start­ing at 63rd Street in Had­ding­ton and ends at Rich­mond and West­mo­re­land streets in Port Rich­mond.

PennDOT said last week that the next phase of im­prove­ments for the Gir­ard in­ter­change would start in early Novem­ber and take ap­prox­im­ately four years to com­plete.

Ac­cord­ing to PennDOT’s news re­lease, that phase will in­clude:

• Re­con­struc­tion and widen­ing of Rich­mond Street between Ara­mingo Av­en­ue and Cum­ber­land Street;

• Re­con­struc­tion and widen­ing of Rich­mond Street between Cum­ber­land and Ann streets, and re­lo­ca­tion of the road­way to an area east of the in­ter­state;

• Re­place­ment of two Con­rail bridges over Rich­mond Street near Le­high Av­en­ue with four sep­ar­ate struc­tures with new Con­rail tracks;

 ull; Re­con­struc­tion of the Gir­ard Av­en­ue bridge over the north­bound Ara­mingo Av­en­ue spur; con­struc­tion will only close one lane at a time;

 ull; Ex­tens­ive util­ity re­lo­ca­tions along Rich­mond Street and ad­ja­cent streets to the west;

 ull; In­ter­sec­tion im­prove­ments along Rich­mond Street at Gir­ard Av­en­ue, Cum­ber­land Street, Ser­geant Street, Hunt­ing­don Street, Le­high Av­en­ue, Somer­set Street, Cam­bria Street and Ann Street;

 ull; In­stall­a­tion of “In­tel­li­gent Trans­port­a­tion Sys­tems” devices — dy­nam­ic mes­sage signs, traffic cam­er­as, travel-time sensors — along ar­ter­i­al routes ad­ja­cent to I-95 between the Broad Street and Betsy Ross Bridge in­ter­changes.

Dur­ing con­struc­tion, PennDOT will main­tain one lane in each dir­ec­tion along Rich­mond Street through 2013.  Rich­mond Street will be de­toured between Le­high Av­en­ue and Ann Street for con­struc­tion of the new Con­trail over­passes in 2014 and 2015.

Gir­ard Av­en­ue head­ing to­ward Delaware Av­en­ue will re­main open through 2013 between Fletch­er and Rich­mond streets for re­con­struc­tion of the bridge over Ara­mingo Av­en­ue at the in­ter­change. South­bound traffic will be de­toured as the bridge is re­built.

Travel on I-95 will not be sig­ni­fic­antly af­fected dur­ing the con­struc­tion.

More in­form­a­tion about the work sched­ule and daily up­dates can be found at www.95re­vive.com.••

Re­port­er Bri­an Rademaekers can be reached at 215-354-3039 or brademaekers@bsmphilly.com

You can reach at hmitman@bsmphilly.com.

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