Some changes are in store for the iconic Ben Franklin Bridge, including murals on the Philly side and a long-awaited bike ramp on the New Jersey side.
The murals will be the first to debut mid-summer next year. This week, the Delaware River Port Authority announced it was partnering with the Mural Arts to commission two murals on the Philly side of the Ben Franklin Bridge. The murals will be located on the insides of the 5th Street Vehicular and 5th Street Pedestrian tunnels under the Ben Franklin Bridge.
The hope, DRPA said in its announcement, is for the murals to deter graffiti. The agency is looking for murals that are “expected to be inspired by bold graphics, color fields, strong and simple forms or patterns that evoke a sense of movement and continuity.”
The 5th Street vehicular tunnel mural will be an impressive 1,500 square feet, while the pedestrian tunnel mural take up two 1,000 square feet areas.
According to the DRPA, the submission deadline is September 5, and the actual dedication of the murals will be sometime in July 2018.
Meanwhile, the New Jersey side of the bridge is finally getting a bike ramp. This week the DRPA approved a $7.9 million renovation of the south walkway over the bridge that bring a bike ramp to the bridge leading to Rutger’s Camden campus.
Although cyclists can currently bike over the Ben Franklin Bridge to and from Philly and Camden, those biking to New Jersey currently have to walk down 25 feet of stairs once they reach the bridge’s edge. The ramp has been in the works for awhile now, and once it’s installed it will serve as another trail connection for the Circuit Trails network.
Construction of the ramp, led by South State Construction, is expected to take 18 months and open by spring 2019. In the meantime, bikers and pedestrians will be detoured over to the bridge’s north walkway.