The next phase of the effort to turn the Manayunk Bridge into a pedestrian park and path connecting Philadelphia and Lower Merion is moving forward, with the awarding of design contracts to bring the project vision to life.
A consulting team led by Whitman, Requart & Associates was chosen to create plans for the trail, according to a press release from the Schuylkill Project, an arm of the Manayunk Development Corp. The contract comes with a deadline — the designs must be complete by late 2012 in order for the project to use a $1.3 million PennDOT construction grant awarded in January.
Jeff Riegner, who will lead the design team, said the group would meet with community groups in coming months to discuss ideas for what he characterized as a collaborative design process that will take not just aesthetics, but safety and usability into account. The bridge crosses not only the river, but the Schuylkill Expressway, Main Street and the Norfolk Southern freight train lines, and high-tension power lines cross its span.
As NewsWorks reported last month, officials from Philadelphia, Lower Merion Township and SEPTA — which has owned the bridge for about 30 years — have collaborated on making the bridge park trail a link between the Schuylkill River Trail and the Cynwyd Heritage Trail.
WR&A has recently completed trail projects in Wilmington, Delaware and in Paoli, Pa., and is working on a transportation study of the city’s Delaware Avenue/Columbus Boulevard corridor, according the Manayunk Neighborhood Council.
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