Ever drive across the Scudder Falls Bridge and wonder what it would be like to see the view of the Delaware River on a run or a bike ride?
Well, this dream might become a reality within a year or so.
The new Scudder Falls Bridge, which will connect Bucks and Mercer counties via the I-95/I-295 highway, will contain a much anticipated pedestrian walkway attachment.
According to the project’s website, the southbound portion of the new bridge (which will hold the walkway) is scheduled for completion sometime in 2019.
What a cool thing that will be for runners, bikers, hikers, dog-exercisers and the like.
This will mark the first time in history people can walk or ride this high above the Delaware River water surface.
It also will break up an eight-mile stretch without a crossing which currently extends from the Washington Crossing Bridge down to the Calhoun Street Bridge spanning Morrisville/Trenton.
Imagine running down the canal path on the Pennsylvania side, hustling up an access ramp and then getting a look all the way up-river practically to Bowman’s Tower?
And then cruising down the New Jersey tow path.
In New York City, I’ve run the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge (seven times in the New York City Marathon), the George Washington Bridge, the RFK/Triborough Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge and I’m here to tell you, the views from these spans never gets old.
For once, someone in the Delaware Valley had the foresight to include non-vehicular traffic in their building plans.
Other big bridges like the Pa./N.J. Turnpike Bridge, the Burlington-Bristol Bridge, the Betsy Ross, the Ben Franklin and the Walt Whitman were built long before this forward thinking.
Veteran bikers and runners applaud the Scudder Falls Bridge plan.
“When it’s complete, it will sure be nice to have access from both sides,’’ says veteran triathlete Bob Burke, who operates Guy’s Bicycles in Feasterville. “Having to cross in Washington Crossing isn’t too bad, but the Calhoun Street Bridge (narrow, etc.), now that’s a different story.
“I can picture a nice run along the canal without having to cross up near Trenton. Having more bike and run access will be fantastic for the triathlon community, as well as the recreational cycling community. I know many of my running and riding friends will be excited to hear this news.’’
Ron Jones, my running coach for my past four U.S. National Senior Games, lives a block off the Delaware and welcomes the new crossing.
“I’m completely in favor of the bike and pedestrian path,’’ says the experienced marathon runner. “I’m sure it will get good use.’’
For Harry Betz, owner of Newtown Bicycle Shop and co-director of the Bucks County Duathlon, this is a much welcomed addition to the two-wheel scene.
“This is a big win for the pedestrians, runners and cyclists in the area,’’ Betz says. “Kudos to those who fought to get this done. Aside from linking the multi-sport trails on both sides of the river, this sends a message that a car is not the only option to get around.
“Hopefully this will pave the way for more pathways in our region. In our cement and steel world, having more recreational opportunities will be crucial to the health and well-being of our residents.”
Those sentiments are echoed by Fraser Marlow, a long-time training partner of mine and accomplished distance runner.
“I am delighted to hear that the bridge will open as soon as next year,’’ Marlow says. “There has been a major commitment up and down the East Coast to provide interconnected trails and cycle paths and I see people embracing and enjoying these every day.
“I hope this new addition will encourage more people to take on longer adventures on foot or by pedal power.’’
NO BULLYING 5-Miler, Doylestown. Contact www.novabucks.org.