The Benjamin Franklin Bridge will soon be getting a few upgrades, as a long-request bike ramp has finally been approved by the Delaware River Port Authority. Additionally, PhillyVoice adds that the DRPA has also approved of two new murals to be added along the Philadelphia side of the bridge for both the vehicular and pedestrian tunnels.
Mural Arts and DRPA will be collaborating on the murals, having sent out an announcement asking local artists to contribute to the murals. While no subjects have been selected yet, officials hope they will be “inspired by bold graphics,” with strong or simple patterns “that evoke a sense of movement and continuity.” Artists’ online submissions are being accepted until September 5th on the Mural Arts website. With luck, the murals may also help to stem the problem of graffiti along the side of the bridge.
In relation to the bike ramp, DRPA’s Operations and Maintenance Committee approved of it a few weeks ago with the Board of Commissioners giving full approval just recently. At present, officials are estimating a cost of $7.9 million for the approximately 18 month construction of the ramp. Funding is partially provided by the William Penn Foundation and the Federal Highway Administration grant, supplying $400,000 and $3.8 million to the project, respectively.
The goal of this project is to primarily make it easier for pedestrians on the Camden, New Jersey side of the bridge to make it across. At present, a 25-foot staircase stands in the way of those trying to make it across from one state to the other, presenting several obvious problems for those with bikes or some form of disability.
Construction will hopefully begin soon on the ramp, with artists for the murals likely to be selected soon after the September 5th end date for applications. With any luck, these renovations should be completed Spring 2019.