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‘Even more iconic’: Ben Franklin Bridge lights up Philly skyline with million-dollar lighting installation

Cory Sharber
The fourth phase of the Ben Franklin Bridge revitalization project focused on installing a new $8 million LED system.

The Ben Franklin Bridge is lighting up the Philadelphia skyline once again after the switch was flipped Monday evening on a new LED lighting system.

It’s part of a more than $214 million upgrade project currently underway at the iconic bridge — including the new $8 million LED decorative lighting that replaces the original system that was installed in 1987.

Delaware River Port Authority CEO John Hanson said the bridge is the most iconic structure in the region.

“If there’s a movie, TV show, an ad, even TV news backdrops, they all feature the Ben Franklin Bridge,” Hanson said before turning the lights on from Cooper Poynt Park in Camden. “Tonight, with the work that we’re doing, we’ve made it even more beautiful and even more iconic.”

The lights can be seen “chasing” PATCO trains as they go across the bridge, and will change colors to reflect the holidays or special occasions.

Camden Mayor Victor Carstarphen said he crossed the bridge nearly every day growing up.

“We take for granted every day, people crossing for work, the work and the maintenance and the dedication that you all do for this, making sure this Ben Franklin Bridge is the best bridge of them all,” he said.

The lighting upgrade is the fourth phase of the five-phase rehabilitation project. The final phase will widen the North Walkway in Camden. Most of the project’s work focused on repairing steel components on the suspended spans, as well as reinforced concrete.

U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross, a Democrat from Camden, thanked workers for their efforts in the revitalization project whilst dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The men and women who build and maintain this bridge, you can’t do it on Zoom,” Norcross said. “We owe them a round of applause because they came in during the pandemic and kept this bridge running. Thank you for what you did.”

Currently, the lights can only be seen on the northern side of the bridge. The southern side is offline while the new system is being installed.

More than $45 million dollars went towards the construction of the Ben Franklin Bridge back in 1922. Nearly 36 million vehicles crossed the bridge back in 2021.

The bridge can be seen in films like “Rocky” and “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” as well as the opening credits to television’s “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”