It’s been a long time coming, but a trail connection between the east and southwest banks of the Schuylkill River Trail is finally possible with the donation of the Grays Ferry Avenue Bridge to the city.
Conrail, the consolidated rail corporation that owns the bridge in Grays Ferry, donated it to the City of Philadelphia on Wednesday morning. The 115-year-old bridge will then be replaced with an improved pedestrian swing bridge—think smaller and lighter—that will connect the Grays Ferry Crescent Trail along with east banks to the new Bartram’s Mile trail on the southwest banks of the river.
The move has been in the works for years, but the project has hit some snags and red tape all along the way. Funding finally received federal government approval on June 30 and construction was expected to begin in late 2017. But, “due to an extended review by the Coast Guard, this project’s advertising date was delayed,” Schuylkill River Development Corporation said in its most recent newsletter.
The plan now is to begin work in March 2018 and open the trail by December 2019. Expect the new bridge to have a pedestrian overlook and lighting.