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Thousands Cross Ben Franklin Bridge Daily, But How Many Know Its Secret?

By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - If you're sitting in traffic on the Ben Franklin Bridge, then you'll have a moment to consider this: the bridge has secret trolley stops and elevators that have never been used.

Inside the grey anchorages on either side of the Ben Franklin Bridge is the secret -- long-forgotten trolley stops that were never put into service.

ben franklin bridge secrets
(Credit: Mike DeNardo)

DRPA senior engineer Mike Howard, who has written a book on the bridge's history, says the bridge was designed to accommodate trolleys from New Jersey:

"By the time the bridge had opened in 1926, a lot of the trolley lines had converted to buses and they never took advantage of the trolley track areas for that service."

mike howard
DRPA senior engineer Mike Howard, with the book he co-wrote on the history of the Ben Franklin Bridge. (Credit: Mike DeNardo)

Inside each of the four anchorages, are never-used elevators and seven tile mosaics depicting milestones in U.S. transportation.

"You have elevators that exist in there that are made of beautiful wood -- and just never opened to the public," Howard says.

ben franklin bridge inside
there's many secrets inside the Ben Franklin Bridge. (Credit: Mike DeNardo)

And under the lightning bolt statue on the Philly side is a cavernous area meant as a terminal for the trolleys that never ran.

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