South Street Bridge update

Over the past few months, workers have finished demo of the old South Street Bridge, which had straddled the Schuylkill River since the 1920s.

And a new bridge is rising to take its place. The pile driving is nearly complete. When all is said and done, the new bridge will have 11 piers.

If work continues at its current pace, PennDOT believes the new bridge should be open in December 2010.

The federal government will pick up the bulk of the $67 million tab – 80 percent. The state will pay 15 percent and the city 5 percent. When the bridge first went to design phase in 1995, the price tag was estimated at less than half that, in the low $30 million range, said Rina Cutler, the deputy mayor for transportation who used to work for PennDOT.

The new bridge and viaducts – elevated roadways – will span about 2,000 feet. The roadway will cross over Amtrak, CSX and SEPTA rail lines and pass under the CSX railroad high line. It will include new pedestrian entrances to the University City Regional Rail Station and University of Pennsylvania’s Hollenback Hall.

The project is the largest the city’s streets department has handled since it was created in the early 1950s, department chief engineer and surveyor David J. Perri said.

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