Ben Franklin Bridge

Bridge Director: Valerie Bradford
(856)968-3300

Owned by the Delaware River Port Authority, construction began for the Delaware River Bridge, later renamed Benjamin Franklin Bridge January 6, 1922.

Opened to traffic July 1, 1926
River/waterway crossing: Delaware River
Location is Camden NJ/Philadelphia PA.
Width (out to out): 128 feet
Travel width (curb to curb): 77 feet -10 inches
Number of lanes: 7
The bridge has railroad/transit tracks
Length (abutment to abutment): 7,456 feet
Navigable channel width: 400 feet
Navigable channel depth: 40 feet
Foundation type: caisson (main piers), and spread footing (approach piers)
Type of connection: rivet (shop) and rivet (field)
Roadway surface: asphalt
Type of paint: urethane alkyd
Structural steel weight: 61,700 tons

Facts About the Ben Franklin Bridge

  • The Ben Franklin Bridge was opened on July 1, 1926.
  • The Ben Franklin Bridge was constructed by Ralph Modjeski, and designed by Paul Philippe Cret and Leon Moissieff.
  • The Ben Franklin Bridge was originally named the “The Delaware River Bridge.”
  • The Ben Franklin Bridge connects Camden, New Jersey to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and crosses the Delaware River.
  • The Ben Franklin Bridge is one of the world's largest suspension bridges. Currently 57th longest.
  • The Delaware River Port Authority owns the Ben Franklin Bridge.
  • In 2006, the musical GodSpell was performed under a re-creation of the Ben Franklin Bridge at the Walnut Street Theater.
  • There is a wooden replica of the Ben Franklin Bridge at the Independence Seaport Museum at Penn's Landing.
  • The Ben Franklin Bridge is a popular image in movies and TV. You can see it in the opening credits of the cable TV series “It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia”, and movies such as
    • Philadelphia
    • Blow Out
    • Twelve Monkeys
    • Fallen
    • Transformers 2
    • Rocky
    • Love and Dancing
  • The Ben Franklin carries more than 100,000 vehicles a day.
  • PATCO trains over the Ben Franklin Bridge carry 40,000 rail commuters a day.
  • The Ben Franklin Bridge lighting system helps the region celebrate events and holidays such as :
    • Pearl Harbor Day and Army Navy Game- Red, White and Blue
    • Christmas Day- Red and Green Hanukkah- Blue and White
    • Kwanzaa- Red, Green and Yellow Autism Awareness-Green
    • Breast Cancer Awareness – Pink New Year's Eve- Rainbow
    • Phillies, Eagles, Flyers, Sixers – team colors
  • The bridge is 8, 300 feet long from end to end.
  • The center span is 1,750 feet from tower to tower.
  • Each side span is 717 feet from each tower to each anchorage.
  • The Philadelphia approach to the anchorage is 2,000 feet and the Camden approach to the anchorage is 2,800 feet.
  • The bridge is 135 feet above the river. The towers are 382 feet tall, not 517 feet.
  • Total weight of the bridge is 763,491 tons, which includes structural steel and masonry.
  • The Benjamin Franklin Bridge was originally constructed with 70,851 tons of steel. In 1951, additional roadway lanes were created over areas that were reserved for streetcars/trolley operation. As a result of the modification, an additional 6,500 tons of structural steel were added to the bridge.
  • Workers installed an average of 200 rivets per day. Once tower sections were delivered to the bridge site, workers installed 145,000 rivets high above the river. 75% of the rivets were installed off-site. The total number of rivets could be in the neighborhood of 750,000 per tower.
  • It took 4 1/2 years to build the Ben Franklin Bridge.
  • Before the Ben Franklin Bridge, there was only one other crossing between Philadelphia and New Jersey, the Delair Ralroad Bridge constructed in 1896.
  • The bridge toll in 1926 was .25 for a car, .15 for a horse and rider and .30 for a horse-drawn carriage
  • The cost to build the bridge, not including improvements made since 1926, was $37,103,765.42.
  • When opened it opened in 1926, the bridge held the title of world's longest suspension bridge.
  • If all the individual wires inside the two main cables were connected end-to-end, the wire would circle the earth.
  • The anchorages had stations built into them to handle passengers using the trolley lines.
  • Two opening ceremonies were held for the bridge: the July 1st ceremony which opened the bridge to 100,000 pedestrians; and a second opening ceremony on Monday, July 5, 1926 for Calvin Coolidge, the President of the United States.
  • The bridge was designed to accommodate six lanes of traffic, two tracks for subway/elevated trains, two track areas for streetcar/trolley operation, and two walkways for pedestrians. The walkways are one of the more popular parts of the bridge for bicycle riders, walkers, and people jogging across the bridge.
  • The Philadelphia Evening Bulletin reported that the first traffic accident actually occurred before the bridge officially opened. Two individuals ran their car into the back of another car as they were attempting to get ahead in line as the bridge was getting ready to open to vehicles. The driver was fined $25.

 

Click here for information about the Benjamin Franklin Pedestrian Bridge Walkway.

DRPA E-Alerts