Betsy Ross Bridge
|Betsy Ross Bridge|
The Betsy Ross Bridge from Pennsauken, NJ
|Official name||Betsy Ross Bridge|
|Carries||6 lanes of NJ 90|
|Locale||Philadelphia (Bridesburg), Pennsylvania and Pennsauken Township, New Jersey|
|Maintained by||Delaware River Port Authority of Pennsylvania and New Jersey|
|Design||Steel Continuous truss bridge|
|Total length||8,485 feet (2,586 meters)|
|Width||105 feet, 4 inches (32 meters)|
|Longest span||729 feet (222 meters)|
|Vertical clearance||37.66 feet (11.48 meters)|
|Clearance below||135 feet (41.1 meters)|
|Construction cost||$103 million|
|Opened||April 30, 1976 |
|Toll||$5.00 (westbound) (E-ZPass)|
|Daily traffic||39,980 (2000)|
The Betsy Ross Bridge is a continuous steel truss bridge spanning the Delaware River from the City of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania to Pennsauken, New Jersey. Built from 1969 to 1974, and opened in April 1976, during the American Bicentennial Year, it was originally planned to be named as the "Delair Bridge", after a paralleling swing bridge owned by Pennsylvania Railroad (which is now used by Conrail and New Jersey Transit's Atlantic City Line), but was instead later named for Betsy Ross, a Philadelphia seamstress and reputed creator of the first American flag in 1776, making it the first automotive bridge named for a woman in America and the second bridge overall (after Iowa's Boone High Bridge was renamed the Kate Shelley High Bridge in 1912).
Construction began in 1969, and was completed in 1974. However, the bridge did not open to traffic until April 30, 1976 due to numerous problems with the communities where the bridge's ramps to and from Richmond Street were located. The problems (concerns over traffic, especially heavy trucks) were also related to the highway route's planned extension to the northwest from the Delaware River, across Northeast Philadelphia to connect with the Roosevelt Expressway. The cancellation of this extension, the planned Pennsylvania Route 90 (PA 90 - known as the Pulaski Expressway) resulted in the so-called "Evel Knievel" ghost ramps – with unfinished bridges and fly-over ramps, some of which were later constructed to serve nearby Aramingo Avenue in the city's Bridesburg section. Currently, the route serves as a high-level multi-lane (six lanes, separated by a concrete median barrier) bypass of the three-lane Tacony-Palmyra Bridge, which has a drawbridge on the span.
The bridge has a total length of 8,485 feet (2,586 m), and a main span of 729 feet (222 m). Though originally constructed with eight lanes, the bridge was reduced to six lanes with two shoulders in 2000. The bridge is owned and operated by the Delaware River Port Authority.
When approaching the exits from I-95 in Philadelphia for this bridge, drivers see signs referring to NJ Route 90. Beyond the toll plaza, which is on the New Jersey side, NJ 90 continues as an expressway with maximum speed limit of 50 mph (80 km/h), and in a few miles ends with a merge onto southbound NJ 73. The toll plaza (westbound tolls only) is 12 lanes wide, and since 2000 has been a participating E-ZPass facility.
A $5.00 one-way toll is charged entering Pennsylvania for passenger vehicles (less than 7,000 lb (3,200 kg) gross vehicle weight). A $18 credit was previously given on a per tag basis for DRPA-issued E-ZPass tags that crossed one of the four DRPA bridges 18 times in a calendar month. This discount ended in 2010. Trucks, commercial vehicles, mobile homes, and recreational vehicles (weighing at least 7,000 lb (3,200 kg) gross vehicle weight) pay $7 cash per axle. Seniors aged 65 and over can use a ticket program to pay $2.00 per trip (not integrated with E-ZPass).
In 2011, the DRPA initiated the process of awarding an engineering contract to plan out the redecking of the bridge, as the concrete deck, its asphalt overlay, and the joints between the concrete have deteriorated after 35 years of service. Upon approval of the contract by the DRPA Board, the study is expected to take 30 months. No cost estimates or time frame for the actual redecking project have been announced.
- "Delays Likely on Palisades Parkway", The New York Times, June 5, 1988. Accessed October 12, 2007. "In South Jersey, there will be partial lane closings this month on Route 73, between Route 130 in Pennsauken and High Street in Maple Shade, for work on Route 90. The latter will connect the Betsy Ross Bridge across the Delaware River to Route 73 in Burlington County this fall. Bridge traffic must now go north on Route 130 in Camden County to reach Route 73 before continuing east."
- "Monthly discount suggested for DRPA bridges"
- Nussbaum, Paul (April 7, 2011). "DRPA panel takes first steps to repairing Betsy Ross Bridge". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
- Delaware River Port Authority: Betsy Ross Bridge
- Betsy Ross Bridge historic overview (phillyroads.com)
- Betsy Ross Bridge at Structurae