The Scudder Falls Bridge was a headache before its massive expansion, and it’s remained a headache during the expansion. But, earlier this month, amid the congestion and construction, a ray of sun appeared in the form of the Scudder Falls Shared-Use Path.
The path, which includes a 1,587-foot walkway for cyclists, runners, and walkers that extends the length of the new Scudders Fall Bridge, was officially opened during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on November 16. The bridge spans the Delaware River, connecting Lower Makefield Township, Pennsylvania, and Ewing, New Jersey.
The Scudder Falls Bridge Replacement Project is expected to be completed before the end of the year, nearly five years after it began and at a cost of $570 million.
The path was constructed by the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission (DRJTBC). It was funded as part of the replacement project and the construction of the Scudder Falls Administration Building.
At 10 feet wide, and with a four-foot, six-inch railing, the shared-use path makes the Scudder Falls Bridge the only one of the commission’s 20 bridges where cyclists can pedal across without dismounting. Fifteen of those bridges currently provide some form of pedestrian access. However, for various reasons, cyclists are required to dismount and walk their bikes across.
More than that, the path provides a critical river crossing for cyclists, runners, and walkers where previously there was none. The next available crossing for anyone heading south from Washington Crossing along the Delaware Canal in Pennsylvania or from Titusville along the Delaware & Raritan Canal in New Jersey was the Calhoun Street Toll-Supported Bridge, which sits seven-and-a-half miles away. With the opening of the Scudder Falls Shared-Use Path, that distance is reduced to less than four-and-a-half miles.
“Transportation needs to work for everyone, whether you walk, bike, drive a car, or use public transportation,” Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Secretary Yassmin Gramian, PE, told the Bucks County Herald at the ribbon-cutting.
In addition to the path, the DRJTBC also installed a new pedestrian bridge over the Delaware Canal and adapted a former home to serve as a trailhead comfort station near the Delaware Canal towpath.
On the Pennsylvania side of the path, a 127-space park-n-ride lot near the intersections of Taylorsville and Woodside roads links to permeable asphalt paths that lead to the pedestrian canal bridge. From the towpath, a ramp connects to the path. In New Jersey, the path connects to a ramp and concrete path extension to the Delaware & Raritan Feeder Canal towpath.
There are four scenic overlooks spread out along the ramps and walkway.
Which is to say that even if you stop and admire the view, you’ll still probably make it across the river faster than the drivers stuck on the bridge.