Looking Back At The Unbuilt Red Bank Bridge Proposal In South Philadelphia


Philadelphia-Red Bank Bridge. Image via Courier Post, March 27, 1926

article BY: THOMAS KOLOSKI 7:30 AM ON JULY 19, 2021

In the 1920s, Philadelphia was on the rise, with industry and was with business activity bustling across the city. The port was generally busy, the skyline was growing, and as automobiles surged in numbers, the city was in need of bridges spanning the Delaware River and connecting to New Jersey on the other side. The proposed Philadelphia-Red Bank Bridge was brought to public attention by Mayor J. Hampton Moore, who suggested that the city is in dire need of a new bridge at its south end. The bridge would have been situated very close to the present location of the Walt Whitman Bridge, though slightly further west and running from the north to the south rather than from the west to the east.


Philadelphia-Red Bank Bridge placement. Image via Google Maps, edit by Thomas Koloski

Mayor Moore had brought up the idea to the president of the Eureka Triangle Club, Governor Watkins. The discussion was then taken to the Woodbury Court House, where the monthly booster meeting for the club was taking place. The idea was spurred by the fact that the Benjamin Franklin Bridge (originally known as the Delaware River Bridge) was just over four months away from completion. The Mayor added that the two bridges together would greatly improve the flow of traffic in Philadelphia and South Jersey.


Philadelphia-Red Bank Bridge rendering. Image via Google Earth, edit by Thomas Koloski

If built, the bridge would have had an obvious placement when looking at the map. The southern tip of Broad Street curves slightly to the east when it approaches the Delaware River in the Navy Yard. On the New Jersey side, Red Bank Ave in West Deptford lines up perfectly with the southern tip of Broad Street, making the connection of a span seem ideal at that location. However, if built, Philadelphia Sports Complex and the neighborhood of West Deptford would see different rates of traffic compared to today. In the end, it was likely for the best that the Walt Whitman Bridge was built as it was planned out to come in fruition.

This piece was taken from the Philadelphia YIMBY website.  https://phillyyimby.com/