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Pennsylvania Route 291 over the George C. Platt Bridge

George C. Platt Bridge is an 8,780-foot-long cantilever through truss span located in the city of Philadelphia.  The George C. Platt Bridge carries Pennsylvania Route 291 via Penrose Avenue over the Schuylkill River east of Interstate 95 towards Interstate 76.  The George C. Platt Bridge opened during 1951 and was a replacement for the earlier Penrose Ferry Bridge. 


Part 1; the history of the George C. Platt Bridge

Prior to the construction of George C. Platt Bridge traffic over the Schuylkill River was carried by way of the last generation Penrose Ferry Bridge.  The last Penrose Ferry Bridge initially was completed over the Schuylkill River by 1878 and featured an iron swing span design.  The iron swing span of the Penrose Ferry Bridge can be seen during 1880 in a Philadelphia Department of Records photo (courtesy Philadelphia.blogspot.com).

The iron swing span of the Penrose Ferry Bridge was replaced by a steel swing span during 1900.  The steel swing span of Penrose Ferry Bridge can be seen below in a Philadelphia Department of Records photo (courtesy bridgerhunter.com) dated to 1910.

The original iteration of Pennsylvania Route 191 was aligned over the Penrose Ferry Bridge by 1928.  Pennsylvania Route 191 was aligned between US Route 1/Baltimore Pike and Broad Street in downtown Philadelphia via Penrose Avenue.  The Penrose Ferry Bridge would remain in service until March 29, 1947, when it was struck by a container ship.  Pennsylvania Route 191 and the Penrose Ferry Bridge can be seen below on the 1948 Rand McNally Map of Philadelphia.  


The damage to the Penrose Ferry Bridge necessitated it be replaced by a modernized span.  The Penrose Avenue Bridge would open on September 12, 1951, as part of an extended Pennsylvania Route 291.  The Penrose Avenue Bridge was a fixed 8,780-foot-long cantilever through truss span which provided more utility than the previous swing span of the Penrose Ferry Bridge.  The Penrose Ferry Bridge can be seen carrying Pennsylvania Route 291 over the Schuylkill River on the 1956 Gousha Map of Philadelphia.  

A steel divider was installed on the Penrose Avenue during 1967 to mitigate head on collisions.  The Penrose Avenue Bridge was renamed in honor of Civil War figure George Crawford Platt during 1979.  During 1984 and 2011-2014 the George C. Platt Bridge was rehabilitated.  Below the fixed span of the George C. Platt Bridge can be seen a D. Thomsen photo (courtesy bridgehunter.org). 


Part 2; a drive on the George C. Platt Bridge

The below sequence of photos was taken by Tom Fearer during the 2022 Philadelphia, PA National Road Meet along the George C. Platt Bridge.  Below Pennsylvania Route 291 can be seen crossing the George C. Platt Bridge east from Interstate 95 over the Schuylkill River towards Interstate 76.  













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