Commodore Barry Bridge
Commodore Barry Bridge
|Carries||5 lanes of US 322 & CR 536 & 2 lanes of sidewalk|
|Locale||Chester, Pennsylvania to Bridgeport, New Jersey|
|Official name||Commodore John Barry Bridge|
|Maintained by||Delaware River Port Authority of Pennsylvania and New Jersey|
|Design||steel cantilever bridge|
|Total length||13,912 feet (4,240.38 meters)|
|Width||77 feet (23.47 meters)|
|Longest span||1,644 feet (501.09 meters)|
|Clearance below||192 feet (58.52 meters)|
|Construction cost||$115 million|
|Opened||February 1, 1974|
|Toll||$5.00 (westbound) (E-ZPass)|
The Commodore Barry Bridge is a cantilever bridge that spans the Delaware River from Chester, Pennsylvania to Bridgeport, in Logan Township, New Jersey, USA. It is named after the American Revolutionary War hero and Philadelphia resident John Barry.
Along with the Betsy Ross Bridge, the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and the Walt Whitman Bridge, the Commodore Barry Bridge is one of the four toll bridges connecting the metropolitan Philadelphia region with southern New Jersey owned by the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA). Originally designed to connect with a now-cancelled freeway, the limited-access bridge has recently been retrofitted to better serve the local area. Between 2007 and 2011, both the DRPA and the PennDOT, in conjunction with the Chester Redevelopment Authority, built a pair of entrance-exit ramps that allowed motorists, primarily heavy truck traffic, to access the Chester Waterfront, via Pennsylvania Route 291 and Flower Street (via W. 9th Street (U.S. 13)) from I-95. Other improvements, such as deck joint replacement, concrete patching (on the approaches), and other safety and engineering improvements are either ongoing or have been completed. The bridge replaced the Chester-Bridgeport Ferry, a ferry service that, prior to the opening of the bridge in 1974, was the sole means of crossing the Delaware River from Delaware County, Pennsylvania to Gloucester County, New Jersey. Since the termination of the ferry service, along with a subsequent fire and SuperFund cleanup, the Chester side of the ferry terminal became the city-owned Barry Bridge Park with the adjacent Talen Energy Stadium (home of the Major League Soccer's Philadelphia Union franchise) being opened in 2010.
Construction of the bridge began on April 14, 1969, and it opened to traffic on February 1, 1974. It has a total length of 13,912 feet (4,240 m), and a main span of 1,644 feet (501 m), making the bridge the fourth longest cantilever bridge in the world, and the longest in the United States. The road has a total of five lanes, divided by a zipper barrier, which was added to the bridge in 2002, in which a machine can configure the number of lanes in each direction, depending upon traffic volume or construction. The bridge is designated as part of U.S. Route 322 and has direct connections with PA Route 291 (W. 2nd Street), U.S. Route 13 (W. 9th Street) and Interstate 95 in Chester and U.S. Route 130 in Bridgeport, with a connection to Interstate 295 and the New Jersey Turnpike within a 5-mile (8.0 km) radius of the bridge.
Originally created to be a connection to one of the then-proposed freeways in New Jersey, the Commodore Barry Bridge was to connect Interstate 95 near Chester to, at one point, the Atlantic City Expressway near Hammonton, but those plans were eventually scrapped when it was realized that many people in the college town of Glassboro would be affected. There are new talks of possibly upgrading US 322 to a freeway from US 130 to Interstate 295's current Exit 11, or even as far as the New Jersey Turnpike's Exit 2. There is no mention if this new freeway would be included in the Interstate Highway System, though it hasn't been ruled out yet, either.
In 1978, an intense fire broke out at Wade Dump, a rubber recycling facility and illegal industrial chemical dumping site almost directly under the bridge. The heat, rising flames and noxious fumes shut down the bridge temporarily. The burning chemicals injured 43 firemen and caused long-term health problems for the first responders to the fire. In 1981, the location was declared a Superfund cleanup site and remediation occurred throughout the 1980s. In 1989, the site was deemed safe and removed from the Superfund national priorities list. In 2004 the site was converted to a parking lot for the nearby Barry Bridge Park.
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 $12 credit will be given on a per tag basis for any DRPA-issued E-ZPass tag that crosses one of the four DRPA bridges 18 times in a calendar month. Trucks, Commercial vehicles, mobile homes and recreation vehicles (weighing at least 7,000 lb (3,200 kg). gross vehicle weight), pay $7.50 cash per axle. Seniors aged 65 and over with an NJ E-ZPass can use a discount program to pay $2.50 per trip.
- Philly Roads - Commodore Barry Bridge Historic Overview, retrieved 6 August 2014
- Delaware River Port Authority (May 12, 2008). "Traffic Restrictions To Begin On Commodore Barry Bridge". Retrieved 2008-06-01.
- Durkee, Jackson (1999-05-24). "World's Longest Bridge Spans" (PDF). National Steel Bridge Alliance. p. 24. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2002-06-01. Retrieved 2008-08-06.
- Stranahan, Susan Q. "Beyond the Flames". www.inquirer.philly.com. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
- "Wade (ABM) Chester, PA". www.cumulis.epa.gov. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
- "DRPA - Travel Info". Retrieved January 20, 2019.
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