On August 19th, PennDOT will be officially opening the long awaited Sullivan’s Bridge with a ribbon cutting at 10:30am. There are two distinct rides to the bridge — one from Philadelphia, and one from Chester — to celebrate the long-coming bike-ped bridge opening.
The bridge, part of The Circuit, will create a new multi-use trail between the Schuylkill River Trail and Valley Forge National Historical Park. As noted by the Philadelphia Inquirer earlier this summer:
This summer, PennDot’s new Sullivan’s Bridge – a $9.2 million, 14-foot-wide, pedestrian/cyclist river crossing built in the footprint of the Betzwood – will open, banishing the Route 422 boardwalk bridge forever.
Named for Major Gen. John Sullivan, who served under Washington at Valley Forge, Sullivan’s Bridge is the 2016 diva of the Circuit Trails, a burgeoning regional network of foot-power pathways to Mother Nature.
Funded largely by government agencies such as PennDot and by private grants from the William Penn Foundation and others, the Circuit comprises more than 300 miles of trails in nine Pennsylvania and New Jersey counties. The goal: 750 miles.
Permanently installed counters recorded more than 1.2 million pedestrians and bicyclists on 11 major regional trails last year, including 240,182 on the Chester Valley Trail, 208,180 on the Schuylkill River Trail in Phoenixville, and 114,619 on the Cynwyd Heritage Trail in Lower Merion Township.
So, we and our partners are excited, to say the least.
To make the ceremony more exciting, there are two rides headed to Sullivan Bridge, led by a Bicycle Coalition affiliate group, and a corporate sponsor.
Ride 1: Bike Chester County
Bike Chester County is hosting a fun bike ride from the Pawlings Rd Trail Head to the ribbon cutting at the Betzwood Trail Head.
Don’t miss this event to be among the first cyclists to ride across the bridge that has been 20 years in the making!
The ride is about 2.5 miles and is all on the Schuylkill River Trail. All ages and levels of riders are welcome! Meet at the trailhead at 9:30 AM. We will depart at 9:45 AM.
Ride 2: Bicycle Club of Philadelphia
The Bicycle Club of Philadelphia will lead a ride to the Sullivan Bridge Grand Opening Ribbon Cutting, Valley Forge National Park. Meet at Azalea Garden’s formal entrance, behind the Art Museum is the link for information about the start location. The ride leaves at 8:00 am. Class D, 10mph, 50 miles.
Tim Carey of the Bicycle Club of Philadelphia will be leading an easy ride to the ribbon cutting cerramony of the Sullivan Bridge connecting the Besttswood section of the Valley Forge National Park to the main section of the park crossing the Schuylkill River.
The ride will leave early since Betzwood is at the 22 mile marker of the Schuylkill River Trail and to include a coffee stop at the River’s Bend Bicycle Shop and Coffee Bar in Conshohocken.
The group will cycle over the bridge to the Valley Forge National Park visitor center before returning the way we came out. “Most likely, we will get back to Philadelphia just before 3 pm,” says Carey.