An estimated 300 people showed up to the opening of the new Sullivan Bridge late last week, a reception that was more than two decades in the making.
Cyclists, hikers, politicians, and interested parties were on hand at Valley Forge National Park to witness the ribbon-cutting of Sullivan’s Bridge. The bridge, as we recounted last week, was closed in the early 90s due to “metal corrosion” and was never re-opened. PennDOT eventually opened a 3-foot walkway along Route 422 for cyclists and pedestrians, which was cramped, breaking down, and increasingly dangerous.
But on August 19, that all changed. The people of the Delaware Valley got a brand new, 602-foot long, 14-foot wide bridge just for bikes and peds.
Before the ceremonial ribbon-cutting of the bridge, the hundreds in attendance heard from some of the people who are responsible for brining this 23-year project to fruition.
They included PennDOT Secretary Leslie S. Richards, State Sen. John Rafferty, Rep. Brendan Boyle, Vice Chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners Val Arkoosh, and others.
All spoke of the long efforts governments, advocacy organizations, and citizens put into making the $9.2 million bridge a reality.
“This bridge is a critical connection in our county trail system,” noted Arkoosh during her remarks, shouting out the Circuit Trails system throughout the Delaware Valley. “I cannot wait for the next bike to work day!”
Sullivan’s Bridge was named for Major John Sullivan, the military officer charged by George Washington with building a bridge across the Schuylkill in 1777.
The ceremony was also a special day for those cyclists who protested the closing of the original bridge in the early 90s, some of whom were arrested for their activism, and have been fighting for a safe passage since.