Reporting Jim Melwert
By Jim Melwert
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The continuing roadwork on I-95 south in Northeast Philadelphia is a massive headache to motorists, and that has many looking for alternatives.
The construction has been going on for several months, and the current phase has the ramp to Cottman Avenue closed. With no traffic, the ride from Academy Road into Center City usually takes less than 15 minutes, but with the roadwork, during rush-hour, it’s not uncommon to see delays over 30-minutes, even up to an hour, if there’s a breakdown or a crash.
As a result, SEPTA spokesman Andrew Busch says it looks like many frustrated commuters are turning to the regional rails.
“Year-to-date, we’ve had a ridership increase of 9% on the Trenton Line,” Busch said. “That’s compared to 2% when you look at the other regional rail lines system wide.”
Joe, from Bensalem, who takes the train from Cornwell Heights into Center City, says there’s a noticeable increase in riders.
“There are a lot more people standing,” he said. “The train itself usually has four cars, it has increased to five cars, and a lot of times, you know, most of the seats are completely full.”
This is phase two of the construction project which is rebuilding seven bridges in the area, widening some ramps and shoulders.
The construction is planned to continue into 2016, the current Cottman Avenue ramp closure is set to wrap up later this year.
In the meantime, Busch says the Market-Frankford Line could also be a good alternative.