PennDOT announced today it will soon begin a $6.6 million renovation of the Spring Garden Street bridges, the several spans that take Spring Garden Street over the Schuylkill River, MLK Drive and Interstate 76. One of the two bridges that connect the Art Museum area with Mantua and Powelton Village is structurally deficient.
Construction starts Monday, August 11th.
In a release, PennDOT says crews will resurface the deck, replace expansion joints and other bridge parts, improve drainage and paint it. They will also replace curb ramps. In good news for non-drivers, PennDOT also plans to update signage and markings for pedestrians and bicyclists. (There is already a thin bike lane on the bridge.)
Starting in late August, trucks longer than 30 feet will be prohibited from the Spring Garden Street bridges. In mid-September, the exit ramp from I-76 West will be closed for about 70 days. Lanes will also intermittently be closed during off-peak times. The construction is expected to be completed by next summer.
Philadelphians who lived in and around the area a few years ago may remember the one bridge’s old mural, which featured the most terrifying baby ever drawn by anyone. (Its pupils were either huge or nonexistent.) This led to it being nicknamed the Scary Baby Bridge among quite a few people. Though I mocked the mural at the time, now that the scary baby is gone I kind of miss it.
Funding for the repairs are coming completely from the state, and have been proved by Pennsylvania’s Act 89. Presumably, the scary baby will not be returned to the bridge. But we can dream.