Saturday, August 30, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

How A City Bridge Is Safe On Top But Not Below

We here at PhillyClout spent part of Thanksgiving pondering how the Walnut Lane Bridge could be safe to drive on when parts of it are apparently falling off down below.

How A City Bridge Is Safe On Top But Not Below

We here at PhillyClout spent part of Thanksgiving pondering how the 102-year-old Walnut Lane Bridge could be safe to drive on when parts of it are apparently falling off down below.  The answer: It's all about decoration. 

The city put out a news release -- you can read it after the jump -- Wednesday at 5:15 pm announcing that that the stretch of Forbidden Drive that runs under the bridge would be closed while inspections are under way next week. The city is concerned about architectural concrete, which according to this Wikipedia entry, is used for decoration and not stability.

Check out this 2008 newsletter from the Friends of the Wissahickon [page 8] about the bridge as it turned 100.

FORBIDDEN DRIVE AND TRAILS UNDER THE WALNUT LANE BRIDGE CLOSED

The Streets Department and the Department of Parks and Recreation have closed Forbidden Drive and the parallel paths that pass under the Walnut Lane Bridge. The decision was made following a recent inspection of Walnut Lane Bridge that indicates architectural concrete may be falling from the bridge. The Streets Department’s investigation has not identified any imminent structural issues, so the bridge will remain open. The closure will remain in effect pending additional inspections, planned for the week of November 29.

During the duration of the closure recreational users can still use Forbidden Drive from Lincoln Drive to the bridge or from Northwestern Ave to the bridge, but trail users will not be permitted to pass under the bridge. Those who are looking to travel “through” Forbidden Drive should seek alternate on-street routes, or consider accessing the street system at Bells Mill Road, Wises Mill Road, Green Lane, or Kitchens Lane.

The Streets Department and the Department of Parks and Recreation thanks the citizens in advance for their patience and cooperation during this closure.

About this blog
Chris Brennan, a native Philadelphian and graduate of Temple University, joined the Daily News in 1999. He has written about SEPTA, the Philadelphia School District, the legalization of casino gambling, state government, the mayor, the governor, City Council and political campaigns. E-mail tips to brennac@phillynews.com
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Jenny DeHuff is a 2005 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she cut her teeth in journalism. A South Philly transplant from New England, she joined the Daily News City Hall Bureau in 2013. For the past several years, she has worked as an investigative reporter exposing corruption in suburban politics, covering sometimes ghastly criminal court cases and following the people’s money and how its spent. In addition to being a dogged news hound, she enjoys reading and writing about travel, animals, Irish whiskey and aviation. E-mail tips to dehuffj@phillynews.com
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Sean Collins Walsh is from Bucks County and went to Northwestern University. He joined the Daily News copy desk in 2012 and now covers the Nutter administration. Before that, he interned at papers including The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News and The Seattle Times. E-mail tips to walshSE@phillynews.com
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