Concrete crossing at Valley Forge honors George Washington’s bridge builder

Sources: Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Harrisburg; CP staff

PennDOT Secretary of Transportation Leslie Richards joined National Park Service and other federal, state and local officials for the August 19 opening of the $9.2 million Sullivan’s Bridge, a 14-ft. wide bicycle and pedestrian trail structure spanning the Schuylkill River in Valley Forge National Historical Park.

The four-span structure bears prestressed concrete girders from Cressona, Pa.-based Northeast Prestressed Products. It is named for Major General John Sullivan, who was charged by General George Washington with building a Schuylkill River bridge during the Continental Army’s 1777-78 Valley Forge winter encampment. The 604-ft. crossing features a midpoint observation area where trail users can view the Schuylkill River and Valley Forge Park.

Opened after nearly 30 months of construction, Sullivan’s Bridge becomes a critical link in the Circuit Trails, a regional network comprising hundreds of miles of interconnected cyclist and pedestrian routes. The park’s location outside Philadelphia further connects the Circuit Trails between Montgomery and Chester counties. Prior to Sullivan’s Bridge, cyclists and pedestrians crossed the Schuylkill River on a 4.5-ft. wide boardwalk path on the west side of U.S. Highway 422.

J.D. Eckman, Inc. of Atglen, Pa., was the general contractor on the project, fully funded by the federal government. Sullivan’s Bridge design and engineering was managed under a PennDOT and the Upper Merion Transportation Authority agreement, in close coordination with the National Park Service plus Upper Merion and West Norriton townships.

PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards (right) joins a colleague emulating Continental Army Major General John Sullivan to officially open the Schuykill River pedestrian and cyclist crossing. PHOTO: Pennsylvania Department of Transportation