By David Buckholtz
For twenty years, the bridge over 41st Street has been shuttered, severing an important artery between Parkside, Mantua, and the rest of West Philadelphia. But new construction around the barricaded bridge is paving the way for a re-opening in the upcoming years according to a progress update from the Philadelphia Department of Streets.
Speaking with the Parkside Journal, June Cantor, Public Relations Specialist for the Streets Department reports that “newly agreed upon deadlines for the construction of the bridge have remained on schedule. It is the expectation of the Streets Department to begin advertising the project for construction by the end of the year and beginning construction in the spring of 2015.”
A new bridge, designed with the “active input” of residents on both sides has lead to the completion of a final design of the new bridge. Everything from lighting to architectural style were of a concern to the community. The community also selected the final architectural style of the bridge with a nearly unanimous vote, the communities selection was presented the Art Commission where it received full support.
While a firm construction timeline for the installation of a new bridge is still being determined, other necessary work around the bridge that needed to be completed is now underway, says Cantor. “Amtrak has recently started constructing foundations for the new wire supports. They are keeping us updated on their progress and should be completed in the fall of 2014.”
The relocation of the power supports will allow trains to continue operating once The Streets Department begins removing the crumbling bridge. In the meantime, due to decaying asphalt on the bridge surface, and underlying corrosion, members of the surrounding communities are urged to respect the concrete barriers and not cross the bridge by foot as the instability of the bridge makes any and all use of the bridge unsafe.
The Journal, as well as all of our neighbors look forward to a reopening of this vital link to our community sooner rather than later.
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