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After two years of construction, the Chestnut Street Bridge has reopened. Credit: Kylie Cooper

The Chestnut Street Bridge has reopened after two years of construction and renovation.

The bridge — which crosses the Schuylkill River, connecting Center City to University City and West Philadelphia — first closed its traffic in early August 2019 as part of a larger $105.1 million project that began in August 2017, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation led the project, which focused on repairing and repainting the bridge's steel superstructure and replacing its deck, the Inquirer reported. The bridge initially was expected to reopen in 2020, but faced delays.

The project also has created wider sidewalks, new decorative lighting, new parapets, and railings, as well as a parking-protected bicycle lane along Chestnut Street between 34th and 22nd streets, according to PennDOT's website. 

PennDOT also renovated viaducts and I-76 off-ramp structures and installed new traffic signals and resurfacing as part of the project.

When construction on the bridge was announced in 2019, the Penn Division of Public Safety anticipated changes in travel patterns near Penn's campus and encouraged commuters to use SEPTA during the construction period. Penn Medicine also notified patients and visitors of the closure.

The bridge was built in 1957 and had over 18,000 vehicles pass over it every day at the time of its closure. The bridge initially was expected to reopen in 2020 but faced delays due to COVID-19.

In addition to completing this project, PennDOT recently announced other plans to extend bicycle lanes on Chestnut from 63rd Street to 45th Street as well as on Market from 34th Street to 30th Street.

While the Chestnut Street Bridge is officially reopened, minor improvements will continue into early summer that could cause short-term sidewalk and bicycle lane closures, according to PennDOT.