Towering 102 feet above the Schuylkill River, the “Twin Bridges” of Route One were considered a landmark civic improvement when they were opened to traffic in the Fall of 1960. Combined with the 3.6 mile extension of Roosevelt Boulevard, which opened in May of 1961, the bridges provided a continuous high-speed connection through a previously congested section of Philadelphia, at a cost of $26.4M (1960 dollars).
This benefit to drivers came at the expense of many residents of the East Falls Oak Lane and Nicetown neighborhoods, which will be the subject of a different view. For 34 years, Route 1 had been routed down Broad Street to Hunting Park Avenue or through Center City Philadelphia, leading to traffic congestion and poor air quality. With Route 1 traffic diverted northwest, motorists could conveniently bypass the city, and the older bridges across the Schuylkill River were relieved of some of their burden.
The Twin Bridges were awarded a commendation for “Most Beautiful Steel Bridge” in 1960 by the American Institute of Steel Construction. According to PennDot, average traffic on the bridges has reached about 110,000 vehicles per day. At almost 2000 feet long and with 3 lanes in each direction, it provides a critical link in regional vehicular traffic to Interstate 76 (The Schuylkill Expressway).
The historic 1856 Schuylkill River Viaduct of the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad passes underneath the twin bridges. The bridge continues to carry freight traffic today.
The Schuylkill River was named by the Dutch. Go figure.
Peter Evans PA Philadelphia Jun 23, 2021 Architecture
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Peter Evans Jun 23, 2021
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