SEPTA gives the green light for renovations

SEPTA gives the green light for renovations
Charles Mostoller

City Hall’s transit hub is finally getting its much needed and long overdue facelift.

SEPTA officials said Thursday that the $150 million renovation of the Market-Frankford Line’s 15th Street station and the Broad Street Line’s City Hall station will begin in 2016.

Structural construction on the El’s 15th Street station will start first, in the spring of 2016 and it will remain open during the work. The subway’s City Hall station will undergo renovations later in 2016. It may be closed for a period of time, but further details are still unavailable.

Estimated completion of 15th street station is 2018. City Hall station will be completed by 2020.

SEPTA assistant general manager Robert L. Lund Jr. said the concourses would be widened and better lighting will added.

Lund, who specializes in engineering, maintenance, and construction, said fitting a combined 13 new elevator shafts down to the platforms in the two stations was the transit agency’s biggest hurdle.

“Each station has their own constraints,” Lund said, “and our design has to accommodate that.”

“We all recognize that this is the center of our transit system and is need of repairs,” he added. “And these structural constraints were such that years ago people were not quite sure it was possible to bring in elevators.”

Another structural hurdle are the concrete pillars littered throughout the stations that actually hold up the city hall.

Lund said the pillars will be thinned out to create more room, but not much more can be done. The space, he said, is old and confined.

“It’s not like I can make it bigger,” he said.