VALLEY FORGE (WPVI) --Bicyclists, runners and walkers were more than thrilled Friday to venture across the new Sullivan Trail Bridge in Valley Forge National Historical Park.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation began construction in 2014, and with a ceremonial cut of a ribbon, the pedestrian-bicycle bridge opened up to the public.
"We knew this bridge was going to be a phenomenal addition to our trail system here. Not just in Montgomery and Chester counties, but to the entire region, to the entire circuit, hundreds of miles of trail," said Leslie Richards, Secretary of Transportation.
If you've bravely trekked across the old, narrow boardwalk path on the west side of U.S. 422, which is 4 feet, 6 inches wide, then you can understand the excitement about the new and improved trail bridge.
It is a pre-stressed concrete structure that is 14-feet wide and 604-feet long. It's a direct link between Chester and Montgomery counties, and will allow visitors to travel between the Schuylkill River Trail and the trail system in the National Park.
"I have been biking around here for probably 30 years and crossing that rickety-rackety, wooden bridge for the last dozen of those, and this is a real pleasure to have this bridge open," said Lou Anzalone of Phonexville.
"It was scary. You would have to ride fast to not be the one that fell through the cracks," said Blake Rubin of Northern Liberties.
The hope is the new four-span bridge enhances bicycle and pedestrian travel, and provides a safe regional connection to the Circuit Trails, which is a vast regional trail network - composed of hundreds of miles of interconnected trails.
"We have been waiting all summer. Every time we were riding the Valley Forge Trail, we would take our bikes over and say, 'Oh, not done yet,' and turn around. We were thrilled today to find out it was open, so on the inaugural day, here we are," said Laurie Meehan of Westchester.