(Copyright city of Philadelphia. Photograph by Kaitlin Privitera.)
Mayor Michael A. Nutter (fifth from R) and other elected officials and community leaders open the new South Street Bridge, a $67 million project completed early and on-budget.
Mayor Michael A. Nutter joined a ribbon-cutting ceremony by Philadelphia, Pa., and federal government officials as well as community leaders Nov. 6 to celebrate a major infrastructure development — the reopening of the vital South Street Bridge
The $67 million reconstruction project began on Dec. 8, 2008, and opened one month ahead of the anticipated 24-month schedule. The new 1,800-ft. (548.6 m) long bridge and viaduct reopened to traffic during the evening of Nov. 6.
“We’re thrilled to deliver the new South Street bridge to Philadelphians on budget and ahead of schedule,” said Nutter. “Thanks to a collaborative effort, this crumbling structure that became a growing concern for more than a decade has been transformed into a model of a strong government-community partnership.”
Driscoll Construction, based in Spring House, Pa., the general contractor on the project, was responsible for delivering the completed bridge so quickly to Philadelphia.
More than 30,000 drivers, transit riders, bicyclists and pedestrians are expected to use the bridge each day. The new bridge will feature dedicated bicycle lanes that will be 6 ft. 4-in. (1.8 m 10 cm) wide. The sidewalks of the new bridge will be 2 ft. (.6 m) wider than the sidewalks on the old bridge. The new bridge also will feature four pedestrian look-out areas beneath the glass towers, which will be lit with LED lighting. In addition, ramp and stairway connections are being constructed so that there will be direct connections to the future extension of the Schuylkill River trail. New pedestrian entrances will provide access to the University Regional Rail Station and the University of Pennsylvania’s Hollenback Hall.
“We have a beautiful design that will withstand the test of time,” said Deputy Mayor for Transportation and Utilities Rina Cutler. “We have a truly complete bridge, so whether your travel by car, bus, foot or bike, the new South Street Bridge is a safe and comfortable way to cross the Schuylkill.”
“The reconstruction of the bridge is the largest and most complex project in the history of the Streets Department,” said Streets Commissioner Clarena Tolson. “We’re pleased to present this vital link between the communities of West Philadelphia and Center City one month ahead of schedule, which will ultimately relieve traffic congestion and travel delays in the immediate vicinity.”
The South Street Bridge Coalition, a group consisting of elected officials, community leaders, business owners and civic groups, was instrumental in the design and development process. The coalition worked with the city to develop a bicycle, pedestrian and vehicle-friendly design. The architectural firm H2L2 was commissioned to be part of the design team. CEG