Earlier this week, the City of Philadelphia awarded a $4.1 million contract to A.P. Construction to build a multi-purpose trail on one of the Circuit’s hallmark segments: the Manayunk Bridge. This long-awaited project is finally moving into the construction phase. It will take six to eight weeks before construction actually begins and approximately one year for the project to be completed.
When complete, the Manayunk Bridge will be the first pedestrian/bicycle-only bridge crossing the Schuylkill River (Sullivan’s Bridge will join the crowd when it is completed in 2016). It will provide a much-needed connection between two riverfront communities (Lower Merion Township and Manayunk); open up an inactive railroad asset to the public and provide spectacular views of the Schuylkill River and Manayunk; and provide a new and important transportation option for students, employers and employees who live and work in LMT or Manayunk/Roxborough. Lastly, it will add considerable value to the Cynywd Heritage Trail and the Schuylkill River Trail by connecting them together. Ultimately, the trail will continue to the Ivy Ridge Station and, we hope, to Shawmont, where it will connect with the paved portion of the Schuylkill River Trail.
The project received funding from many sources: study and design funds were provided by Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the William Penn Foundation, plus the Regional Trail Fund administered by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission. Capital funds were provided by the federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality program ($204,000); state/federal funding from the Pennsylvania Community Transportation Initiative ($2,400,000), plus an additional $1,500,000 from PennDOT.
Many partners worked very hard to make this project possible. SEPTA, Lower Merion Township, Philadelphia Streets Department, Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities, Philadelphia’s Parks and Recreation, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, and several non-profits including the William Penn Foundation, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, Schuylkill Project, Manayunk Dev. Corp and Pennsylvania Environmental Council. The trail design was conducted by Whitman Requardt and Associates and overseen by the Schuylkill Project.
What started as an idea by some passionate residents of Lower Merion and Manayunk in the mid-2000s is in the final stages of become real. Lots of people have ideas, but it’s usually up to some industrious worker bees to get stuff done. We can’t wait to take our first steps and ride on the bridge. It will undoubtedly be spectacular!