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New topic 2018-03-02 16:37:09 description

Benjamin Franklin Bridge and Delaware River Port Authority.

In 1919, the Delaware River Bridge Joint Commission was created to construct a bridge across the Delaware River connecting New Jersey and Philadelphia. The Delaware River Bridge was completed on July 1, 1926, and was renamed the Benjamin Franklin Bridge in 1956. From the time of its completion in 1926 until 1929, the Delaware River Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world.

The original design called for six vehicular lanes, two streetcar lanes, and provisions for heavy rail in each direction outboard of the bridge's stiffening trusses. The design also specified two pedestrian walks located above the main deck level.

Included in the project design were streetcar stations with elevators integrated into the bridge anchorages. These stations, along with the streetcars, were never commissioned into service on the bridge due to the increased popularity of the automobile along with the limited amount of pedestrian traffic.

Initially, the bridge conveyed 35,000 vehicles a day, with a toll of 25 cents to cross the Delaware River. During its first three months in operation, bridge use increased to two million vehicles, twice the amount forecasted for that period. With traffic volumes continuing to grow through the late 1920s, officials suggested adding two additional traffic lanes in each direction by utilizing the then unused outboard structures. The proposal, which would have increased vehicular capacity to ten lanes, never progressed beyond the discussion stage.

The provisions for heavy rail were put into place with the expectation that either New Jersey or Pennsylvania would extend their respective system across the bridge. When this did not occur, the Delaware River Bridge Joint Commission decided to construct its own high-speed transit system called the "Bridge Line" connecting Camden and Philadelphia.

On July 17, 1951, President Harry S. Truman signed a bill that created the current Delaware River Port Authority, which succeeded the Delaware River Joint Commission. In September 1967, the Delaware River Port Authority established the Port Authority Transit Corporation to operate the PATCO Speedline, which began service on February 15, 1969, replacing the Bridge Lineas the rapid rail service between Southern New Jersey and Center City Philadelphia.

Image provided by The Delaware River Port Authority, courtesy of Michael Howard.


The Benjamin Franklin Bridge (Images of America) Michael Howard,‎ Maureen Howard ISBN-13: 978-0738562582 Amazon

Originally published: Friday, March 02, 2018; most-recently modified: Tuesday, May 14, 2019