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Bridge Over Schuylkill River Repaired

Bridge work has just been completed, but passengers on the Norristown High Speed Line will hardly give it a second thought as they travel across the span and over the Schuylkill River beneath them.

The essential repair work was necessary to protect the foundations of the Bridgeport-Norristown Viaduct, also known as Bridge 12.81, against erosion around the piers located in the riverbed.

The viaduct structure was built in 1911. Over time, the Schuylkill River eroded the riverbed around the piers that support the bridge. Essentially, before they could begin repairs, crews had to create a working land mass where none existed. A temporary stone causeway was built to enable construction vehicles get to the piers.

After securing the causeway, divers were employed to repair the masonry structure beneath the surface of the water. To prevent future erosion and damage to the piers, a stone skirt called a "rip-rap" was placed around the base.

"This was really a team effort," said SEPTA Project Manager Bruce Osborne. "Although we encountered some obstacles, we were able to complete the project in under a month without interrupting service."

Using ARRA federal funds totaling $139,000, this is the first of SEPTA's 32 stimulus projects to be completed and is one of five ARRA funded bridge projects in Montgomery County. The work was performed locally by Loftus Construction Inc. of King of Prussia, PA.

Divers cut away deteriorating steel sheathing panels underwater with special plasma cutting torches at the base of Bridge

Work vehicles were able to access the bridge by building a temporary causeway to reach the bridge pedestals

The completed work included "rip-rap" at the base of the bridge pedestals to prevent future erosion