Walnut Street Bridge

Property Name:Walnut Street Bridge
Address:Connection from Harrisburg City to City Island
Owners:PA Department of Transportation
Priority Since:1996
Status:Flood-damaged Western Span curtails optimum regional
potential. Lighting of Eastern Span needs to be upgraded/replaced

The Walnut Street Bridge, also known as The People’s Bridge, is a truss bridge built by the Phoenix Bridge Company in 1890. It is the oldest bridge on the 400-mile Susquehanna River. Since flooding in 1996 destroyed sections of the western span, it no longer connects to the West Shore.  The bridge was built to break the toll monopoly enjoyed by the neighboring Camelback Bridge (now the Market Street Bridge). The Walnut Street Bridge was closed to motor vehicles and converted to a pedestrian and bikeway link to City Island after the 1972 Tropical Storm Agnes flood. The eastern span of the bridge is outlined in lights which, along with the City Island facilities, create a dynamic visual effect at night. The 2,801-foot span is one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the world. The conversion to pedestrian use gave the bridge a new purpose and it is used by over a million visitors, tourists and residents annually. The bridge was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 and is also recognized as a Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.  In 2012, “Lighten Up Harrisburg” relit the Walnut Street Bridge and has continued to raise funds to explore LED lighting opportunities. Other efforts, supported by HHA, seek to replace the missing western spans so that the full potential of this recreational, tourism and transportation resource may be realized.

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