There’s now one more way for bicyclists (and walkers and runners) to cross between New Jersey and Pennsylvania — using the new 0.7-mile bike-ped path along the new $534 million (or is it $570 million? After once being projected to cost “just” $310 million?) Scudders Falls Bridge project on I-295.
It opened about a week ago so of course we had to check it out. And it’s great, with long ramps on both ends up to bridge height about 23 feet above the river from the D&R Canal towpath on the Jersey side and the Delaware Canal towpath (part of the D&L Trail) on the PA side as well as a few bump-outs so you can pull over and stare northward (or downward).
OK, maybe the turn onto the NJ bridge ramp could be less sharp. Or is that to keep people from screaming down the ramp and not looking when merging onto the towpath?
It also means that one of the many NJ-PA loops between the two trails is now two, one just 7 miles to Washington Crossing and back and the other 10.8 miles down to Trenton and back. The signs are already updated!
Our plan was to ride from Washington Crossing on the NJ side down to the bridge, cross over and head back, but it was such a sunny day and mild for November that we headed up to New Hope and Lambertville before looping back.
The towpaths looked good two months after Hurricane Ida. And check out those ghostly white branches.
But heading north in Pennsylvania we came across a wide spillway with water flowing across. Do you dare, or is it time to turn back?
Go for it, but make sure you have enough speed to coast through, particularly at the northern end where it gets deeper. One in our group ended up with wet feet! I’d have given myself a bigger headstart than this woman had from the northern end. But at least she avoided the worst.
On the New Jersey side, the canal waters were placid as could be, quite the contrast to the whitecaps on the river.
As we finished our ride, we ran into someone I know, a very casual cyclist who was out with his wife to bike over the bridge for the second time in four days. She recalled how controversial the bike-ped path was and the debate over whether it should be axed to save a small share of the project’s cost. Now, she says, she wants to thank all who fought for it.
So do I.