Last summer, work began on the construction of a 680-foot connector bridge between Schuylkill River Park and the Schuylkill River Trail. Construction of this bridge was necessary to resolve a law suit between the City of Philadelphia and CSX, the company that owns the rail line that separates much of Center City West from direct access to the river. As a side effect of this $6M project that was funded mostly by federal stimulus money, the Friends of Schuylkill River Park were to receive several improvements to their park, including new landscaping, and stellar new dog parks. For about a year and a half, neighbors have had to make do with their park being an active construction site. But no longer!
Over the weekend, the new connector bridge was officially dedicated at a ribbon cutting ceremony. We headed over there to check it out, and came away really impressed.
Though some neighbors threw a hissy fit as this project was about to get underway, no one can argue that the park is improved and that this new access point to the trail is a welcome addition to the menu. In just a few minutes today, we saw half a dozen parents pushing strollers over the connector bridge, a task that would have involved a walk to Walnut Street in the past.
And speaking of additions to the menu, it seems that the next step for the Schuykill River Trail is finally being realized. Last spring, we predicted that construction would begin in July 2011 on a two-thousand-foot-long boardwalk “floating” in the river, extending the trail to South Street. Over a year later, preliminary work has begun, as workers on a barge prepare to drill down into the river to install the support columns that will hold up the boardwalk. According to a worker on the site, the boardwalk should be finished in a little over a year.
Here are some renderings of what the boardwalk will look like once it’s finished. Can. Not. Wait.