By Paul Kurtz

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The scheduled opening of the Center City Rail Park has been pushed back. Project leaders have been told a pedestrian bridge over 13th Street will have to be replaced.

One-hundred-thirty years of wear and tear have turned the 13th Street pedestrian bridge into a safety hazard, according to the Streets Department.

Renovation crews found rust and corrosion eating away at structural beams in the ground. Center City District President Paul Levy says they’ll be hiring a contractor later this month to get started on a new bridge.

“When we demolish the existing bridge we’re gonna save all of those girders, renovate them and put them back on the top as we originally planned,” Levy said. “But they’ll no longer be structural support beams.”

The original plan for phase one envisioned a February opening. That has now been pushed back to late spring. Though disappointed, Levy sees a silver lining.

“Opening a park in February or March when nothing is green is not the greatest thing in the world,” he said. “So this delay is one which will cause us to probably open the park in May or June when everything will be in glorious flowers. We’ve waited 20 years for this rail park so to wait two or three extra months is not the end of the world.”

The pedestrian bridge will serve as a gateway to the quarter-mile long elevated park.

 

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