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  • Writer's pictureJohn Martin

SAFELY BRIDGING MARYLAND'S SUSQUEHANNA RIVER

Updated: Aug 17, 2023


Havre de Grace and Perryville, Maryland, are one mile apart, but travelers on foot are required to walk 100 miles between the two because of the lack of a pedestrian crossing.

Travelers must walk out of Maryland and into Pennsylvania where the closest pedestrian facility allows safe crossing of the Susquehanna River between Columbia and Wrightsville.

But it was not always this way. Prior to the opening of the Thomas J. Hatem Bridge on U.S. Highway 40 in 1940, a pedestrian crossing had been used for decades along the converted PW&B railroad bridge, showing what is possible today.

Recently, East Coast Greenway Alliance Mid-Atlantic Manger Daniel Paschall joined colleagues from the September 11th National Memorial Trail Alliance along with Brigitte Carty of the Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway to speak with key congressional representatives, including staff from Sen. Ben Cardin's and Sen. Van Hollen's offices, to discuss the need for a bicycle and pedestrian bridge over the Susquehanna River.


Today, bicycle access is permitted on the Hatem Bridge only on weekends and state holidays. However, there is no physical traffic separation from traffic and no bike lane or shoulder cyclists can use. Only the most experienced and confident cyclists should consider biking in traffic on this bridge.

For more information, please see Maryland Department of Transportation Authority's Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) For Bicyclists & Motorists. For alternatives using transit, bicycle detours or ride-hailing, please visit our Maryland state webpage.

Creating a safe, all-ages-and-all-abilities crossing for people biking and walking will drastically improve access for all residents and visitors alike to the downtown destinations in each city and in the surrounding area, including commuter rail and Amtrak connections and natural, historic and cultural resources that are abundant along the Lower Susquehanna River.


The creation of a safe crossing would fill a major gap in the Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway, the East Coast Greenway, the September 11th National Memorial Trail, the Mason-Dixon Trail, U.S. Bicycle Route 201 and three National Historic Trails - the Star Spangled Banner Trail, the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route and the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail.


Together, we can make greenways and trails accessible to all Americans, no matter their income level, race, ethnicity or ability. Everyone deserves the physical fitness, peace of mind and community connection that trail time provides.




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