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Released: 7/6/2006 

DRPA Celebrates “Ben Franklin Bridge, 80 Years of History”

The Delaware River Port Authority was full of celebration today as children from Philadelphia and Camden joined Authority officials in marking the 80th birthday of the Ben Franklin Bridge. To commemorate this event, Authority staff hosted a birthday party and held a special session of its READ STRONG program. READ STRONG is a literacy initiative developed by staff that provides inner-city students with the opportunity to learn outside of the classroom. Local author, Gene Barretta, read his book “Now & Ben” to approximately 50 school-aged children from summer camp programs in Philadelphia and Camden. The children “met” Ben Franklin and participated in a birthday party for the bridge complete with cake and party favors. Each child received a signed copy of the book to take home. The READ STRONG program was held at One Port Center, DRPA’s headquarters building. This event was part of a summer long commemoration of the 80th birthday of the Ben Franklin Bridge. Last week, Authority officials unveiled the “Ben Franklin Bridge, 80 Years of History” banner that currently adorns the bridge and launched a photo gallery on DRPA’s website, www.drpa.org which includes our treasured photo archives depicting Ben Franklin Bridge history from construction to present day. “DRPA is proud to celebrate the rich history of the Ben Franklin Bridge with the people of the Delaware Valley,” said John J. Matheussen, DRPA’s Chief Executive Officer. “We encourage everyone to visit our website for a historical glimpse of our spectacular bridge.” The Ben Franklin Bridge, originally named the Delaware River Bridge, opened to traffic on July 1, 1926 as the longest suspension bridge in the world. It is one of only a few bridges in the country that can accommodate three modes of transportation (vehicular, commuter rail and pedestrian). The Ben Franklin Bridge is considered an icon for the Philadelphia region. The Delaware River Port Authority is a regional transportation and development agency. DRPA owns and operates the Benjamin Franklin, Walt Whitman, Commodore Barry and Betsy Ross bridges, the PATCO High Speed Line, the Philadelphia Cruise Terminal at Pier 1 and the RiverLink Ferry System. View Photos from the Event!

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