The city of Philadelphia, Lower Merion Township and Montgomery County are collaborating to build a trail on top of the Manayunk Bridge. I
The project will provide a safe and accessible bicycle and pedestrian connection over the landmark Manayunk Bridge between the Cynwyd Heritage Trail in Lower Merion Township and the street network in Philadelphia’s Manayunk neighborhood. A basic design has been developed to meet that goal, address safety requirements, and provide a framework to which other future elements such as furniture, lighting, and public art may be added.
What’s Included In the Project?
- A paved trail surface with areas designated for bicyclists (in plain concrete) and for pedestrians (in exposed aggregate concrete). The center of the bridge will be a shared plaza to take advantage of river views, with a concrete marker in the pavement noting the line between Philadelphia and Lower Merion Township.
- New railings and fencing for safety. Fencing will be 4 feet, 8 inches high over the bulk of the structure and will increase to 10 feet over highways and railroads. The fence is designed to meet current code requirements while respecting the historic nature of the bridge and celebrating the industrial heritage of the area.
- A concrete ramp linking the trail with the intersection of Dupont and High Streets in Manayunk. The ramp will be designed both for trail users and occasional maintenance or emergency vehicles. On either side of the ramp, a slope with landscape planters and low retaining walls will be installed, providing a spot for relaxation at trail’s end. Stairs will be provided at either end for additional pedestrian access between the trail and the street.
- Repaving of the existing parking lot at Dupont and High Streets.
Structural improvements to make the bridge safe for trail use, including:
- Removal and disposal of contaminated rail ballast
- Repairs to the edges of the approach spans in Lower Merion Township
- New waterproofing and drainage system on the approach spans in Lower Merion Township
- Installation of empty electrical conduit to allow for future lighting and electrical service without tearing up the bridge surface.
- A grounding system along the fencing due to the presence of overhead electrical lines.
- Gates to restrict access outside daylight hours.
- Bike racks on either side of the central plaza.
What Will the Project Cost?
The current estimate is $3.5 million, with $3.15 million in funding identified from the following sources to date:
- $1,300,000 from the Pennsylvania Community Transportation Initiative (PCTI)
- $1,100,000 from PennDOT’s Surface Transportation Program
- $500,000 from a Pennsylvania DCNR Community Conservation Partnerships Program Grant
- $250,000 from Lower Merion Township (allocated as a match for potential state grants)
When Will It Be Built?
Construction is expected to start in late 2013 and will extend into the following year.
What May Come Later?
The following elements are not included in the project or reflected in the estimate above, but may occur at a later date.
- Lighting to allow for use after dark.
- Electrical receptacles to provide power for events on the bridge.
- Benches and planters. Areas have been designated for these types of street furniture on either end of the central plaza over the river.
- Public art. The steel plate girder structure on the Manayunk side has panels that could be made available to community organizations to decorate or for local artists to exhibit their work.
- An open canopy to serve as a trailhead, recalling the location of the former Manayunk station at Dupont and High Streets.
- A later phase of the project is planned to extend the trail northwest 0.6 mile to SEPTA’s Ivy Ridge regional rail station, connecting to existing bike lanes on Umbria Street. Eventually the trail could be extended another mile to connect to the Schuylkill River Trail at Shawmont.