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Remember When: They crossed the gateway to South Philly

What would we do without the Walt Whitman Bridge?

Think about it. New Jersey residents, for a small $5 fee, travel across the green-colored structure regularly. It provides a direct link to those heading to the Linc for a Philadelphia Eagles home playoff game. For others, it’s the preferred route to get to and from work — even when there is bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Last year marked the 60th anniversary of this massive steel structure that weighs more than 57,000 tons. The bridge officially opened to traffic on May 16, 1957. The pictured opening celebration included students from the former Stella Maris Elementary school and pedestrians walking across the length of the bridge. Today, with seven lanes of traffic, walking close to 12,000 feet — the length of the bridge — from Gloucester, N.J. to South Philly, or vice versa, sounds like an exhausting task compared to driving.

For those wondering how long it took to build the Walt Whitman Bridge — named after the famous poet — the Delaware River Port Authority website lists August ’53 as the date construction started.

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