Someone apparently climbed to the top of the Ben Franklin Bridge on Sunday, and walked along the cables

Did you also have an exciting Labor Day weekend?

A person was spotted climbing on the Ben Franklin Bridge on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend

A person was spotted climbing on the Ben Franklin Bridge on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend

Matt Dunphy / @levianthant

A person scaled the Benjamin Franklin Bridge over Labor Day weekend, according to reports and images on social media, going back and forth between Philadelphia and Camden before eventually descending and being detained by authorities.

Photos posted online show the climber almost casually strolling along the 30-inch cables that hold together what was, when it opened in 1926, the longest suspension bridge in the world.


💌 Love Philly? Sign up for the free Billy Penn newsletter to get everything you need to know about Philadelphia, every day.


Why’d the climber go up? It may have been to distribute the ashes of a friend.

The Ben Franklin Bridge escapade started just before 6 p.m. Sunday, per traffic cam screenshots, and ended about 20 minutes later. Unconfirmed reports identified the climber as a male, and said he was taken into custody with no injuries.

Observers who watched the escapade via traffic cams focused on the area said once he made it to a summit — the bridge towers are 382 feet tall — he reached into his pocket, then made a gesture that looked like tossing out ashes.

The Ben Franklin Bridge towers are 382 feet high

The Ben Franklin Bridge towers are 382 feet high

Matt Dunphy / @levianthant

Philly police didn’t have any related information, per Ofc. Miguel Torres, who referred a reporter to the Delaware River Port Authority. A person who answered the phone at the DRPA, the bi-state transportation agency that oversees the Ben Franklin Bridge, said they couldn’t provide any info or confirm the incident.

But photos of the climber showed up all over the internet.

Philadelphian Matt Dunphy, who refers to himself in his Twitter bio as a “citizen archaeologist,” posted a thread showing the progression of the person’s adventure there and on reddit, where several others weighed in, with one person noting they’d seen police activity on the bridge during this timeframe.

Back in 2017, two people were arrested at the top of the Ben Franklin Bridge after a stunt that shut down traffic for an hour and a half. Crews closed the roadway after reports of two men dressed in black and carrying backpacks, but it turned out they were photographers who make a hobby of capturing pics from high-risk angles, per 6ABC.

In this case, officers didn’t have to climb up in order to stop the trespasser.

But he reportedly didn’t come down right away. “He walked all the way to N.J..side, but cops were waiting for him, so he climbed back up!” one observer posted on Instagram, with a photo of the person looking tiny at the top of the mammoth structure.

“Looks like the ride’s over,” posted Dunphy, with an image of what looks like the person climbing back down.

The Ben Franklin Bridge is about 1.5 miles long, per the DRPA (7,456 feet from abutment to abutment, aka the points where the span leaves land and crosses over the water). It sits about 135 feet above the Delaware River, and about 38 million vehicles cross over it in an average year.

If you want to experience it up close, check out the pedestrian pathway — you can walk from Philly to South Jersey without ever leaving the safety of the pavement.

Mornings are for coffee and local news

Billy Penn’s free morning newsletter gives you a daily roundup of the top Philly stories you need to start your day.

You finished another Billy Penn article — keep it up!

We hope you found it useful, fun, or maybe even both. If you want more stories like this, will you join us as a member today?

Nice to see you (instead of a paywall)

Billy Penn’s mission is to provide free, quality information to Philadelphians through our articles and daily newsletter. If you believe local journalism is key to a healthy community, join us!

Your donation brought this story to life

Billy Penn only exists because of supporters like you. If you find our work valuable, consider making a sustaining donation today.

Being informed looks good on you

Thanks for reading another article, made possible by members like you. Want to share BP with a friend?