Woodland Avenue Bridge of Hope closure brings hope for a better structure

A major construction project is set for southwest Philadelphia and it's going to impact traffic. It will even impact SEPTA rides. The Woodland Avenue bridge is old and the replacement is on the way.

With cars zigzagging to avoid potholes, not to mention speed and weight restrictions, the so-called "Bridge of Hope" appears to be in hopeless disrepair and is about to come down.

Closed for a year, it will mean thousands of drivers each week will have to find another way. Two trolley routes are also being detoured.

"I'm gonna have to walk at least three more blocks now," said Michael Robinson, of southwest Philadelphia.

"Without the bridge, maybe we'll be a little bit more stressed. But, only for a year, right?" said business owner Sarah Lefkowich.

Lefkowich knows something about stress.

She owns West Philly Community Acupuncture and her business sits at the base of the bridge.

"I just feel the tension melting away around the needles," said patient Leewana Thomas.

"Less pot holes. Smoother ride. I don't know. Sounds like less stress to me in the long run," said Thomas.

Trolley Route 11 will now detour a few blocks west to Chester Avenue and Route 36 passengers will be temporarily bussed from there. Which is actually more convenient for Frederick Vitelli, who takes the trolley to work at the VA Hospital every day.

He's excited at the thought of a new bridge, new sidewalks and smoother trolley rides once the work is completed by the summer of 2019.

"Something new is always great, I believe. And, we should celebrate it. They should have a little party when they finish. You gonna lead the cheers? If they ask me, yeah! Go bridge!" exclaimed Vitelli.