SEPTA will spend $55.5 million to replace the 120-year-old Crum Creek rail bridge on the busy Media-Elwyn line in Delaware County, after approval by the SEPTA board Thursday.

Replacement of the 925-foot-long bridge between Swarthmore and Nether Providence Township, which will require rail commuters to switch to buses for part of the route in 2016, is to begin early next year and be completed by the spring of 2017.

The SEPTA board also approved other major spending Thursday, including:

$6.6 million to buy 40 new 60-foot buses instead of 40-foot vehicles to accommodate more passengers.

$2.2 million for 200 more smart-card readers at outlying stations on the Regional Rail network to accommodate SEPTA's planned new electronic fare system.

$4.3 million to refurbish 22 Regional Rail coaches, as part of a financial settlement with Hyundai-Rotem, the South Korean train-builder that was years late in delivering SEPTA's 120 new Silverliner V railcars.

$40 million for eight engineering companies to provide consulting services over three years, as SEPTA doubles its major construction work, thanks to a state transportation-funding law passed last year.

The year-end spending spree by the SEPTA board was part of the agency's aggressive effort to rebuild and replace much of its aging infrastructure over the next decade. This year, SEPTA's capital budget doubled from $300 million to $600 million, with the infusion of new state funds.

The Crum Creek rail-bridge contract was awarded to Walsh Construction Co., of Pittsburgh, along with Figg Engineering Group of Tallahassee, Fla., and STV Inc., of Douglassville, Pa..

The design-build project came in under SEPTA's original estimated cost of $70 million, and the work is to be done in no more than 912 days.

Shuttle buses will replace commuter trains for about three months in mid-2016 between the stations at Elwyn and Swarthmore.

The purchase of 40 new, 60-foot articulated, low-floor buses from NOVA Bus Inc., of Quebec, is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2016. SEPTA will pay $6.6 million more to buy the longer buses.

The diesel vehicles will replace 40-foot models in SEPTA's fleet of 1,393 buses.

The purchase of 200 more smart-card readers for $2.2 million will change the way Regional Rail commuters pay their fares, starting in 2016. The new readers will be installed at stations in SEPTA's outer zones, requiring riders to use planned new electronic cards there, as well as in Center City stations.

The $4.3 million payment to Hyundai-Rotem is part of a deal worked out to settle a $10.4 million debt owed to SEPTA by the train builder because of delays in delivering 120 new Silverliner V railcars.

In the deal, Hyundai-Rotem agreed to refurbish 22 of SEPTA's 27-year-old locomotive-drawn coaches for $12.8 million. After deducting the amount owed for the late Silverliners, SEPTA will pay $4.3 million to Hyundai-Rotem, whose American factory is in South Philadelphia.

The $40 million for engineering services over three years will be divided equally among these eight companies: Gannett Fleming Inc., HNTB Corp., Jacobs Engineering Group Inc., AECOM Technical Services Inc., JMT Inc., STV Inc., Pennoni Associates Inc., and McCormick Taylor Inc.

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