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Gazette and Bulletin: December 10, 1954 – Smelly PRR Underpass at Pine Street Closed

The Pine Street underpass which permits pedestrians traffic under the Pennsylvania Railroad, has been closed temporarily, City Councilman Chester D. Wolfe, director of public safety, said yesterday. Built in 1898, the tunnel is one of the city’s landmarks. Mr. Wolfe citing the poor and unhealthy condition of the underpass as the reason for closing the

The Pine Street underpass which permits pedestrians traffic under the Pennsylvania Railroad, has been closed temporarily, City Councilman Chester D. Wolfe, director of public safety, said yesterday.

Built in 1898, the tunnel is one of the city’s landmarks. Mr. Wolfe citing the poor and unhealthy condition of the underpass as the reason for closing the structure to public use, revealed that city council will meet soon to discuss the future of the underground walkway.

At the present time the lighting system of the duct is completely disabled and will need extensive repairs before being put back into the operation, Mr. Wolfe explained.

The wire supplying power to the light fixtures within the underpass is broken on the outside of the underpass. To repair the system, concrete over the underground wire will have to be ripped up and later replaced, the public safety director said.

In addition to the lighting system, other faults noted in the bypass include: 1. The tile, which is now bulging away from the walls. 2. The poor conditions of the steps leading into the tunnel. 3. The leaks, which permit water to seep into the tunnel and 4. The offensive odor, which prevails throughout.

Several persons have suffered minor injuries in falls within the tunnel in recent years, Mr. Wolfe said. He also noted with the lack of lights and the condition of the sidewalk more accidents of that type will occur.

To continue its use without lighting would encourage the molesting of pedestrians during the night hours the councilman explained in listing reasons for the closing of the structure.

A stagnant smell permeates the structure, the councilman said and that is a major reason why many citizens prefer to wait for trains to pass rather than use the underpass.

Repairing the tunnel will be a major operation, not only from a standpoint of repairs, but also the cost, Mr. Wolfe commented.

Recently, Mr. Wolfe issued a public warning that any person caught breaking the lights in the tunnel and doing any other damage to the structure will be prosecuted.

Compiled by Lou Hunsinger Jr.

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