By David Madden

CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) — PATCO plans to begin the second phase of single tracking across the Ben Franklin Bridge this Friday, a week earlier than planned, to replace tracks and ties on the northern side of the span.

Riders should get ready for those long waits at rush hour through about mid-October.

This time, the southside tracks will handle runs in both directions, and there will be gaps in service that could be rather lengthy in rush hours, according to Delaware River Port Authority CEO John Hanson.

“It is the last continuous outage,” he said. “The extended weekend outages will continue probably for close to another year and a half.”

Regular riders should consult the newly posted schedules to time their ride to avoid those gaps, and expect some trains to be crowded.

But Hanson says they’ve figured out how to cut those gaps down a bit. So why start this phase before Labor Day weekend? To take advantage of traditionally lighter ridership in late August.

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