Bridesburg: The Delaware Ave. Extension Project from the Residents’ Perspective

What is the Delaware Extension Avenue Project?

According to residents of Bridesburg, something that will better the community as a whole.

“It’s been a long time coming,” says resident Dawn Wafalowski.

Dawn Wafalowski

In March, members of Bridesburg community as well as city officials came together to break ground for the first phase of the extension project, which aims to extend Delaware Avenue from Lewis Street to Orthodox Street. The second phase of the project, which will begin in 2016, will extend Orthodox Street to Buckius Street.

The extension plan was first initiated by former congressman Bob Borski, who created the Delaware River City Corporation in 2004. They had planned to extend Delaware Avenue to Bridge Street initially.

According to the Philadelphia Department of Streets, the Delaware Avenue Extension Project will not only allow for easier access to the Delaware River waterfront but will also reduce truck traffic on the streets of Bridesburg.

Resident Diane Malone, as well as others are extremely happy about the changes to come.

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“I’m all for it,” Malone explained. “I live right on Richmond Street where trucks drive by and constantly knock down my cable lines. It’s a hassle having to get Verizon or Comcast to come out to fix them, so hopefully with the extension of the road that will no longer be an issue.”

Diane Malone

Many Bridesburg organizations, such as the Bridesburg Business Assocation and the Bridesburg Community Development Corporation, have been involved in this project. Buckley & Company, which was established in 1928, is the construction company being used to orchestrate this project. The contract, worth approximately $11.2 million, is being funded through the City of Philadelphia as well as federal funds, via agencies like the Federal Highway Administration.

Helen Anderson, editor of the Bridesburg Bulletin as well as a BCDC board member, explained earlier this month at the Bridesburg Historical Society meeting why there’s been such a delay in getting this started.

“The extension is something that’s been talked about for years,” she said. “It’s been an off-and-on again project for awhile now. There were problems with the budget for the city. That’s a major reason why it hasn’t happened until now.”

Many still seem uncertain as to whether or not the extension will be completed within its projected time.

“I hope it happens,” said an uncertain Matt Lowery. “I feel like it would be great. I know that they’ve broken ground and that within two years everything should be done. But who really knows?”

IMG_0522Lowery, who has lived in the Bridesburg for the last twelve years, remembers when the project was first initiated.

“I was really thrilled when I first heard about it,” Lowry continued. “I thought that it would be beneficial for the city and I still feel that way.”

Jason Newman, the program director at the Bridesburg Boys and Girls Club, says that he doesn’t know too much about what’s going on.

“I’ve heard about it, yes,” he said. “But that’s about it. I feel like everyone’s main concern is the traffic congestion. I don’t think anyone really knows too much about it though. We’re all just waiting to see what happens.”

1 Comment

  1. I am a life long resident of Bridesburg who is very active in improving the community. I hope that the Delaware Avenue extension is a project that gets followed through on and finished. I believe phase 1 is designed to take it to Orthodox Street. And phase 2 is designed to take it to Buckius Street. I just hope there isn’t an ulterior motive here. We all know that Councilman Henon has a dream of Bridesburg’s waterfront being an industrial market again. Hopefully this project isn’t just an end to serve that dream. The road and trail should bring it with it open green space for the Bridesburg community that has been starved of it for years. We don’t need more trucks bringing noise and pollution. Ironic how we are called a “riverward”; yet, we can’t even access the river that gives us that designation.

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