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CEREMONY MARKS EAST COAST GREENWAY SIGN INSTALLATIONS AT HISTORIC CALHOUN STREET BRIDGE

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October 23, 2012

CEREMONY MARKS EAST COAST GREENWAY SIGN INSTALLATIONS AT HISTORIC CALHOUN STREET BRIDGE

Contact: Joe Donnelly (215) 862-7693 or Ethan Vickers (412) 926-5730

MORRISVILLE, PA - New signs were unveiled today to designate the 128-year-old Calhoun Street Toll-Supported Bridge as the Delaware River crossing point for the East Coast Greenway trail, which stretches nearly 3,000 miles from Calais, Maine to Key West, Florida.

The sign unveiling culminated a brief ceremony attended by representatives of the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission, the East Coast Greenway Alliance, and representatives of other recreation-oriented organizations.

While the Calhoun Street Bridge was designated for inclusion in the non-motorized multi-state trail about five years ago, signs marking the East Coast Greenway's crossing at the bridge were installed for the first time today. The 5-by-15-inch green, blue, and white signs are attached to vertical structural members at both ends of the bridge's wood-plank walkway. They use dual conifer-tree images as arrow-like trial direction pointers along with the words "East Coast Greenway, Linking Cities Maine to Florida."

"We're really enthused to have one our bridges included as part of this 3,000-mile interstate trail," said Arnold J. Conoline, the Commission's acting executive director. "The Calhoun Street Bridge is a historic wrought-iron structure that dates from the age of horse-drawn carriages, coal furnaces and gas lighting. It has stood the tests of time and is deserving of this important trail designation."

"The East Coast Greenway is a national trail and the Calhoun Street Bridge is a national treasure," said Andrew Hamilton, mid-Atlantic coordinator for the East Coast Greenway Alliance. "It's gratifying to be able to outfit this venerable structure with signage that will help the public access the various trail components in Pennsylvania and New Jersey."

The East Coast Greenway spans 15 states and the District of Columbia. It links 25 major cities and nearly 40 million Americans live in the various counties through which the trail crosses. Unlike the Appalachian Trail, the greenway is relatively flat. This makes it accessible for all ages. Users can include walkers, runners, bicyclists, and other recreational enthusiasts using non-motorized modes of travel.

The trail currently links over 100 pre-existing non-motorized trail segments along the East Coast. In Pennsylvania this includes the Delaware Canal Towpath, the Bristol Spur Line Trail, and the Schuylkill River Trail. The towpath for the Delaware-Raritan Canal is a major trail component in New Jersey. The trail's Pennsylvania segment consists of 55 miles and the New Jersey segment stretches 78 miles.

Other speakers at the event highlighted the virtues of the East Coast Greenway and the strategic linkage attributes of the Calhoun Street Bridge.

"In a regional sense, we are talking about this trail being part of a nearly 700-mile trail network in the Philadelphia region," said John Boyle, research director for the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. "This bridge designation effectively connects all of the work going on in Pennsylvania with all of the work going on in New Jersey."

Maria Tranguch, regional manager for the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, said: "When we make connections like this one at the Calhoun Street Bridge, we really magnify the benefits for the public."

Meanwhile, DRJTBC Commissioner Yuki Moore Laurenti, who resides in Trenton, cited how she and her husband bicycle the Greenway by following its colorful trail-designation signs. "It's always a wonderful opportunity to see these signs and see the scenery they lead you through," she said.

The Calhoun Street Bridge is the Commission's oldest superstructure, opening for public use in October 1884 as a shareholder-owned toll bridge. It is the oldest existing vehicular bridge in continuous use between Pennsylvania and New Jersey and the second oldest bridge in operation along the entire length of the Delaware River.

The bridge consists of seven Pratt through-truss spans. Its wrought-iron structural components were manufactured by a subsidiary of the Phoenixville, Pa. company that made the internal iron work for the Washington Monument in the nation's capital. The bridge once served as the original Delaware River crossing point for the Lincoln Highway.

The Calhoun Street Bridge is one of three Commission facilities that carry long-distance trails between New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The others are:

- Delaware Water Gap (I-80) Toll Bridge - Appalachian Trail (Maine to Georgia)
- Riegelsville Toll-Supported Bridge - Highlands Trail (Connecticut to Pennsylvania)
- Portland-Columbia Toll-Supported Pedestrian Bridge - Liberty Water Gap Trail (Pennsylvania - New Jersey)

About the Commission

The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission was formed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the State of New Jersey in 1934. It operates seven toll bridges and 13 toll-supported bridges, two of which are pedestrian-only spans. The Commission is a self-supporting public-service agency that receives neither federal nor state tax dollars to finance its projects or operations. Funding for the operations, maintenance and upkeep of its bridges and related transportation facilities is solely derived from revenues collected at its toll bridges. The Commission's jurisdiction extends along the Delaware River from the Philadelphia-Bucks County line north to the New Jersey/New York border. The bridges carried more than 137.4 million cars and trucks in 2011. For more information about the Commission and its various initiatives to deliver safer and more convenient bridge travel for its customers, please see: www.drjtbc.org.


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