skip to content

South Street Bridge Reconstruction

The South Street Bridge is a sustainable, innovative connection for the City of Brotherly Love.
  • South Street Bridge at night-Gannett Fleming.

    Featuring four decorative LED-light towers, the South Street Bridge serves pedestrian, bicycle, and automotive traffic.

  • South Street Bridge view of Philadelphia-Gannett Fleming.

    Located near downtown Philadelphia, the South Street Bridge is a part of the city’s rich history.

  • Vehicle traffic on the South Street Bridge-Gannett Fleming.

    More than 23,000 vehicles cross the South Street Bridge daily.

  • South Street Bridge pedestrian and bicycle traffic.

    South Street Bridge pedestrian and bicycle traffic.

City of Philadelphia, Streets Department

H2L2 Architects/Planners, Lighting Design Collaborative, Portfolio Associates, CHRS, Driscoll Construction Company

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Our Role
Civil, Structural, Environmental, ET, Construction Consultation.

2,200 feet
Construction Cost
$67.5 million
2 years
  • 50-foot high LED-light towers enhanced view of Philadelphia’s skyline
  • Provided a safe, efficient connection for pedestrian, bicycle, and vehicle traffic
  • Reconstructed bridge accommodated the growing traffic demand.

The South Street Bridge is a highly visible gateway to Philadelphia that carries pedestrians, bicyclists, and more than 23,000 vehicles daily across the Schuylkill River. Originally constructed in 1876, the bridge connects a residential community on the east side of the river with the University City community, including businesses, educational facilities, and hospitals on the west side. 

Project reconstruction involved replacing a 55-foot-wide, 17-span steel girder bridge with an 83-foot-wide cross-section and 12 spans crossing four railroads, a navigable section of the Schuylkill River, an interstate highway, and university athletic fields. In addition the bridge ties into a Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority station and platforms, university facility, multiuse river trail, and interstate ramp structures. The new bridge features four, interactive LED-light towers, adding an iconic aesthetic touch to a bridge that complements the city’s growing skyline. The light towers project programmable light shows during the weekends and various city events.

What We Did

Gannett Fleming provided preliminary design, final design, environmental and permitting services, and engineering services during construction. This included significant public involvement and coordination with nearly 20 organizations to help finalize the new bridge’s shape and aesthetics, integrating it with the needs and desires of the communities on both sides of the river. 

The new bridge design accommodates and fosters multimodal transportation. The new cross section eases vehicular traffic movements, provides wider sidewalks, bike lanes, and easy access to a train station and river trail. The safe and efficient transportation provided by the bridge strengthened the community environment, benefiting both residents and businesses.

Key Features

  • Four, 50-foot-high LED-light towers provide unique aesthetic element
  • Highly visible structure
  • Maintains the existing span configuration over the river
  • Open concept maintains iconic view of the city skyline
  • Public involvement and coordination with nearly 20 organizations
  • Safe, efficient connection for pedestrian, bicycle, and vehicle traffic
  • Stairways to University City Station for public transportation and river trail.

Sustainability Features & Outcomes

  • Features Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant design
  • The bridge accommodates pedestrian, bicycle, and vehicle traffic, along with providing access to train and public transportation
  • The reconstructed bridge is now a gateway structure, promoting a strong community environment.

Awards & Recognition

  • Diamond Honor Award, 2012, American Council of Engineering Companies Pennsylvania, Diamond Awards for Engineering Excellence
  • National Recognition Award, 2012, American Council of Engineering Companies, Engineering Excellence Awards
  • No. 1 Bridge Project, 2011, Roads & Bridges, Top 10 Bridges
  • Outstanding Achievement Award, 2011, Philadelphia Chapter of the Pennsylvania Society of Professional Engineers, Outstanding Engineering Achievement Awards
  • Transportation Program of the Year, 2011, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission.

Similar Projects: Transportation: Bridges, Information Technology, Transit & Rail: Mass Transit, Environmental Management & Remediation: NEPA Compliance & Documentation, Transportation: Operations, ITS & Traffic, Environmental Management & Remediation: Permitting, Transit & Rail: Railroad, Operations, ITS & Traffic: Traffic & Safety Engineering, Transportation: Transit & Rail, Transit & Rail: Transit & Rail Systems, Transportation