PennDOT to Repair Spring Garden Street Bridges

The bridges — including the old “Scary Baby” Bridge — will undergo a $6.6 million renovation. One I-76 exit will be closed for more than two months.


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.

[Image via Google Street View 2007 | Current View]

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  • someone obviously needs to put the scary baby back.. meetup??

  • Enuf already

    Would love to see them start to plant some trees on many of the highway, e.g., the boulevard. It would not only beautify the ride, but I think bring a calming effect in addition to being a buffer against the elements — providing shade, rain, winds, snow.

  • MurderHeWrote

    Dedicated bike lane(s) would be nice

  • thesestreets

    It’s too bad their isn’t money (or political will I suppose) to replace the bridge with a more urban design. As it is now it basically functions as a freeway interchange with a dangerously thin strip of sidewalk for pedestrians and a shoulder that I guess is considered a de facto bike lane? Walking over that bridge at any time of day makes one feel very exposed, especially when you have to step into the street because someone is walking the other direction.