The Commodore Barry Bridge carries US Route 322 over the Delaware River between Chester, Pennsylvania, and Bridgeport, New Jersey. It is named after American Revolutionary War hero and Philadelphia resident John Barry.
The Chester-Bridgeport Ferry first crossed the Delaware River between Chester and Bridgeport on July 1, 1930, but it was not formally dedicated by Chester Mayor Samuel Turner until July 9. 1 2 Operating with two boats that were sourced from the Tacony-Palmyra Ferry that had ceased operations in 1929 when it was replaced by a bridge, the “Chester” and the “Bridgeport” had a capacity of 60 and 48 automobiles, respectfully. The “Delaware,” with a capacity of 75 vehicles, was added in 1935, and the “Lackawanna,” a retrofitted old railroad ferry, was added in 1949.
The crossing over the Delaware took approximately six minutes to complete. 1 During the summer months, the Chester-Bridgeport Ferry offered 24-hour service with boats docking on both shores as often as every five minutes.
The Bridgeport–Chester Ferry was designated US Route 322 when it was extended into New Jersey from Pennsylvania.
Commodore Barry Bridge
In 1963, after two years of study, the Delaware River Port Authority (DRPA) announced plans for two new fixed crossings of the Delaware River: the Chester-Bridgeport Bridge to provide better access to southern New Jersey and to provide a traffic a southern bypass of Philadelphia; and the Betsy Ross Bridge north of the city. 6 This required a change in the charter of the DRPA to extend its jurisdiction into Delaware County, which required the signature of President Lyndon who signed the change into law in 1964. Plans for the bridge were approved in 1966 and in 1970, the highway was proposed for inclusion into the Interstate highway system.
Designed by E. Lionel Pavlo, construction of the Delaware River bridge began on April 14, 1969, 6 7 and the Commodore Barry Bridge was completed at the cost of $115 million 6 and opened to traffic on February 1, 1974. 1 3 7 With a total length of 13,912 feet with a main span of 1,644 feet, it was the fourth-longest cantilever bridge in the world and the longest in the United States. 4 After the crossing opened, two of the ferries were immediately sold. 1 The “Bridgeport” was used for the James River at Jamestown, Virginia, while the “Delaware” was used in the Gulf of Nicoya in Costa Rica.
The river crossing carried US Route 322 between US Route 13 in Chester at its western terminus and US Route 130 in Bridgeport at its eastern terminus. A connection to Interstate 95 was not completed until October 1976 because of local opposition. 6 A freeway was originally intended to connect the eastern terminus to the Atlantic City Expressway near Hammonton but the proposal was abandoned because of opposition by residents of Glassboro.
In mid-1974, engineers detected vibrations along the main span over the river which had deformed and cracked some vertical girders. 6 Several of the girders had to be repaired. Additionally, a network of steel support cables was installed so that the beams could withstand higher wind velocities.
The Commodore Barry Bridge has undergone more routine maintenance and construction in the ensuing decades. The bridge deck was resurfaced in 2002, 6 and between 2009 and 2011, the Delaware River Port Authority and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation constructed ramps from the Commodore Barry Bridge west approach to PA Route 291/West 2nd Street in Chester. 5 6 The crossing underwent lead paint removal and driving surface restoration at the cost of $100 million between 2018-22. 6
- State: New Jersey, Pennsylvania
- Route: US Route 322
- Type: Warren Through Truss
- Status: Active - Automobile
- Total Length: 13,915 feet
- Main Span Length: 1,644 feet
- Deck Width: 77 feet
- Roadway Width: 60 feet
- Above Vertical Clearance: 17 feet
- Bullock III, John A. “Chester-Bridgeport Ferry.” Graphic Details Publications, 2007.
- “Chester-Bridgeport Ferry Starts Today.” The Morning Post [Camden], 1 Jul. 1930, p. 3.
- “Bridge ‘Symbol’ of State Cooperation.” Delaware County Daily Times [Chester], 1 Feb. 1974, p. 1.
- Durkee, Jackson. “World’s Longest Bridge Spans.” National Steel Bridge Alliance, 24 May 1999, p. 24.
- “Traffic Restrictions To Begin On Commodore Barry Bridge.” Delaware River Port Authority, 12 May 2008.
- Anderson, Steve. “Commodore Barry Bridge.” Phillyroads.com.
- “Commodore Barry Bridge.” Delaware River Port Authority.