By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A non-profit organization that pushes for a separation of church and state contends the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is “unconstitutionally funding Christian symbols” on a proposed pedestrian bridge on the Villanova University campus.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation says it was contacted by Radnor Township neighbors who complain that PennDOT was contributing taxpayer funds “toward the construction of an overtly Christian bridge” on the Villanova campus.

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The foundation wrote to PennDOT, asking it to either remove the crosses from the proposed bridge or withdraw its funding.

A PennDOT spokesman says its $3.7 million contribution to the project was for the portion of the span over the right of way it controls, Lancaster Avenue (Route 30).

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PennDOT says it has no control over what the university does on its campus property, because Villanova is paying for it, including the metal crosses on top of the stonework on opposite sides of the bridge.