Promises, promises: CSX, residents grapple over rail bridge in South Philly

Written by Bill Wilson, Editor-in-Chief
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CSX has been operating on a double rail line in Illinois for over a century.

A crumbling bridge in South Philadelphia is a daily reminder of a broken promise, according to residents.

Back in 2015, CSX told city officials it was going to repair the 25th Street viaduct, and work would include replacing parapet walls, restoring the drainage system and bridge decking, and resurfacing concrete support columns. Today, the bridge is still raising concerns, and the city of Philadelphia has filed a formal complaint against CSX, seeking to enforce a 2005 Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission order for the Class 1 to fix the viaduct.

A net is now in place under the superstructure of the bridge to catch falling debris, but even that plan is now failing. Pieces of concrete just missed hitting a car that was parked under the rail bridge weeks ago.

CSX said it began work on the 25th Street viaduct in 2014 and has completed various phases of the project to ensure the safe operation of rail traffic and the safety of the South Philadelphia community. A Pennsylvania DOT grant was awarded in December 2021 for the completion of additional renovations on sections of the viaduct. CSX remains in discussions with the city about the restoration project.

“The 25th Street viaduct was inspected in 2021 and determined to be safe for railroad operations,” CSX said in a statement. “Our bridge maintenance program focuses on structural integrity, reliability, and safety for railroad operations. It does not emphasize the aesthetic appearance of bridge structures. CSX maintains this and all bridge structures on our network in full compliance with all federal laws and regulations.

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