Sullivan’s Bridge – the new, four-span, bicycle and pedestrian trail bridge spanning the Schuylkill River in Valley Forge National Historical Park – opened on Friday, Aug. 19.
PennDOT Secretary of Transportation Leslie S. Richards joined the National Park Service and federal, state and local officials to celebrate the opening, according to a PennDOT press release.
“Sullivan’s Bridge is a wonderful addition to Valley Forge National Historical Park and to the region’s Circuit Trails network,” Richards said in the release. “This new trail bridge greatly enhances recreational mobility in the park and it creates a new multi-use trail connection between the park and the Schuylkill River Trail.”
Valley Forge National Historical Park Superintendent Kate Hammond noted that the National Park Service is observing its 100th anniversary. “What better way than to open this wonderful bridge that will be a linchpin in connecting the park with all the people who use hundreds of miles of regional trails."
With its opening, Sullivan’s Bridge becomes a critical link in the Circuit Trails, a vast regional trail network that is composed of hundreds of miles of interconnected trails in the region. The bridge’s Valley Forge park location further connects the Circuit Trails between Montgomery County and Chester County.
Named for Major General John Sullivan, the officer who was charged by General George Washington with building a bridge across the Schuylkill River during the 1777-78 Valley Forge winter encampment of the Continental Army, the concrete, bicycle-and-pedestrian-trail bridge is 14 feet wide and 604 feet long. The bridge features an observation area where trail users can stop midway to view the Schuylkill River and Valley Forge park. Construction began in March 2014.
Prior to the opening of Sullivan’s Bridge, pedestrians and bicyclists crossed the Schuylkill River in this area by walking on a narrow boardwalk path on the west side of Route 422. This path, which was 4 feet, 6 inches wide, opened in 1994 following the closure of the Old Betzwood Bridge over the Schuylkill River in Valley Forge park. The Old Betzwood Bridge closed in 1993 and was removed in 1995.