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August 20, 2017

Bike ramp, two new murals slated for Ben Franklin Bridge

Development Infrastructure
Stock_Carroll - Benjamin Franklin Bridge Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

The Benjamin Franklin Bridge.

A bike ramp was officially approved for the Benjamin Franklin Bridge after the proposal went to a vote before the Delaware River Port Authority.

In addition to the long-awaited bike ramp, the bridge will also see the addition of two new murals on the Philadelphia side of the bridge. The murals, created in a partnership between Mural Arts and DRPA, will be located inside the 5th Street vehicular and pedestrian tunnels under the bridge.

Earlier this month DRPA and Mural Arts sent an announcement in search of local artists interested in contributing to the project. 

“We are extremely excited to bring public art to the Ben Franklin Bridge,” said Valerie P. Bradford, DRPA Bridge Director for the Ben Franklin and Betsy Ross Bridges, in a statement. 

“We’re confident the pedestrian, bike, and motoring communities will appreciate and enjoy the new public art."

The murals are expected to be “inspired by bold graphics,” calling for strong or simple patterns “that evoke a sense of movement and continuity.” Officials also hope the murals can help curb incidents of graffiti or vandalism.

Mural Arts is still accepting artist submissions to be considered for the murals through September 5th online .

As far as the bike ramp goes, the addition has been long coming. A few weeks ago DRPA’s Operations and Maintenance Committee approved the project, which is estimated to cost $7.9 million. Now the full Board of Commissioners has given the project the go ahead.

The project is funded in part by the Federal Highway Administration grant, providing $3.8 million, and the William Penn Foundation, giving $400,000.

Curbed reported that the project, projected to take 18 months, will make it easier for cyclists and pedestrians to access the bridge’s walkway on the Camden side of the bridge. In Camden, there is currently a 25-foot stairway to access it, making it difficult for physically disabled and bicyclists alike to access the walkway.

We should see the completed project by Spring 2019.