Bridges of Pittsburgh

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At least seventeen of Pittsburgh's bridges are visible in this aerial photo.

The Bridges of Pittsburgh play an important role in the city's transportation system. Without bridges, the Pittsburgh region would be a series of fragmented valleys, hillsides, river plains, and isolated communities.[1]

A 2006 study[2] determined that Pittsburgh has 446 bridges, and with its proximity to three major rivers and countless hills and ravines, Pittsburgh is known as "The City of Bridges". The city of Pittsburgh and the county of Allegheny are the largest owners of great bridges in the country, in proper proportion to their size, with the possible exception of the City of New York, which is built on an island and surrounded by large bodies of water.[citation needed]

According to a 2011 study by Transportation for America, 30 of Pittsburgh's bridges were deficient, the highest in the nation.[3][4]

History[edit]

Pittsburgh's first river bridges, made of wood and long since replaced, opened in 1818 at Smithfield Street and 1819 at Sixth Street (then St. Clair Street). The city's oldest in-service bridge is the current Smithfield Street Bridge, which opened in 1883; it was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976.[5] Pittsburgh waged a massive road- and bridge-building campaign from 1924 to 1940; most of Pittsburgh's oldest major bridges date from this period. The coming of the Interstate Highway System triggered more construction in the second half of the twentieth century, as vehicular speed and throughput requirements increased. The result of more than 100 years of bridge building is a collection of most of the major types of bridge (suspension, cantilever, arch, etc.), mostly built from locally-produced steel, including about forty river spans.

Many of the bridges in the Downtown area are colored Aztec Gold,[6] either constructed as such or painted afterward, to match the city's official colors of black and gold. A few old and out-of-service bridges, such as the Hot Metal Bridge (which stood dormant until reopening as a passenger bridge in the year 2000), are exceptions to this rule.

Major bridges[edit]

This table lists all bridges crossing the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio rivers in the City of Pittsburgh limits.

CrossingCarriesRiverImageCoordinates
Fort Pitt Bridge
I-376 / US 19 Truck / US 22 / US 30
Monongahela40°26′20″N 80°00′40″W / 40.4388°N 80.0111°W / 40.4388; -80.0111
Smithfield Street BridgeSmithfield StreetMonongahela40°26′06″N 80°00′07″W / 40.4351°N 80.0020°W / 40.4351; -80.0020
Panhandle BridgePort Authority T Light Rail LineMonongahela40°25′59″N 79°59′53″W / 40.43306°N 79.99806°W / 40.43306; -79.99806
Liberty BridgeConnects Liberty Tunnel to Downtown PittsburghMonongahela40°25′58″N 79°59′48″W / 40.4328°N 79.9968°W / 40.4328; -79.9968
South Tenth Street BridgeSouth Tenth StreetMonongahela40°25′57″N 79°59′21″W / 40.43250°N 79.98917°W / 40.43250; -79.98917
Birmingham BridgeConnects Fifth and Forbes avenues to East Carson StreetMonongahela40°26′00″N 79°58′25″W / 40.433361°N 79.973499°W / 40.433361; -79.973499
Hot Metal BridgeHot Metal StreetMonongahelaPart of the Great Allegheny Passage rail/bike trail.
Glenwood BridgePA-885.svg PA 885Monongahela
Glenwood B&O Railroad BridgeAllegheny Valley RailroadMonongahela
Homestead Grays Bridge (Homestead High Level Bridge) (The Bridge to Beer)Pittsburgh PA Blue Belt shield.svg Blue BeltMonongahela
Fort Duquesne BridgeI-279.svg Interstate 279Allegheny40°26′39″N 80°00′33″W / 40.4443°N 80.0093°W / 40.4443; -80.0093
Roberto Clemente Bridge6th StreetAllegheny40°26′44″N 80°00′12″W / 40.4456°N 80.0033°W / 40.4456; -80.0033
Andy Warhol Bridge7th StreetAllegheny40°26′46″N 80°00′05″W / 40.44611°N 80.00139°W / 40.44611; -80.00139
Rachel Carson Bridge9th StreetAllegheny40°26′48″N 79°59′59″W / 40.4467°N 79.9998°W / 40.4467; -79.9998
Fort Wayne Railroad BridgeAllegheny Valley Railroad, Capitol Limited (Amtrak train), Norfolk Southern Railway Fort Wayne LineAllegheny40°26′54″N 79°59′46″W / 40.4482°N 79.9962°W / 40.4482; -79.9962
Veterans BridgeI-579.svg Interstate 579Allegheny40°27′00″N 79°59′36″W / 40.4499°N 79.9934°W / 40.4499; -79.9934
David McCullough Bridge16th StreetAllegheny40°27′06″N 79°59′27″W / 40.4517°N 79.9909°W / 40.4517; -79.9909
Herr's Island Railroad Bridge (West Penn Bridge)
(rails removed, crosses back channel only)
Three Rivers Heritage TrailAllegheny
30th Street Bridge (crosses back channel only)30th StreetAllegheny
William Raymond Prom Memorial Bridge31st StreetAllegheny40°27′47″N 79°58′33″W / 40.4630°N 79.9758°W / 40.4630; -79.9758
33rd Street Railroad BridgeAllegheny Valley Railroad P&W SubdivisionAllegheny40°27′57″N 79°58′25″W / 40.4657°N 79.9736°W / 40.4657; -79.9736
Washington Crossing Bridge
(40th Street Bridge)
40th StreetAllegheny40°28′22″N 79°58′07″W / 40.4728°N 79.9686°W / 40.4728; -79.9686
Senator Robert D. Fleming Bridge
(62nd Street Bridge)
PA-8.svg PA Route 8Allegheny40°29′28″N 79°56′17″W / 40.4912°N 79.9381°W / 40.4912; -79.9381
Highland Park BridgePittsburgh PA Blue Belt shield.svg Blue BeltAllegheny40°29′21″N 79°54′43″W / 40.4891°N 79.9120°W / 40.4891; -79.9120
Brilliant Branch Railroad BridgeAllegheny Valley Railroad Brilliant BranchAllegheny40°29′12″N 79°54′19″W / 40.4866°N 79.9053°W / 40.4866; -79.9053
McKees Rocks BridgePA QR 3104.svg SR 3104 / Blue BeltOhio40°28′38″N 80°02′54″W / 40.47722°N 80.04833°W / 40.47722; -80.04833
Ohio Connecting Railroad BridgeNorfolk Southern Railway Fort Wayne LineOhio40°27′46″N 80°02′35″W / 40.46278°N 80.04306°W / 40.46278; -80.04306
West End BridgeUS 19.svg U.S. Route 19Ohio

Notable bridges[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kidney, Walter C. (1999). Pittsburgh's Bridges: Architecture and Engineering. Pittsburgh, PA: Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation. ISBN 978-0916670214. 
  2. ^ "Just How Many Bridges Are There In Pittsburgh?". thePittsburghchannel.com. September 13, 2006. Retrieved January 30, 2010. 
  3. ^ Schmitz, Jon (October 19, 2011). "Bridges in Pittsburgh labeled the worst". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved November 28, 2011. 
  4. ^ "The Fix We’re In For: The State of Our Nation’s Busiest Bridges" (PDF). Metropolitan Bridge Rankings. Transportation for America. October 2011. Retrieved November 28, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Listing of National Historic Landmarks by State: Pennsylvania" (PDF). National Park Service. June 2013. p. 5. Retrieved August 7, 2013. 
  6. ^ http://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/why-are-the-bridges-in-pittsburgh-painted-yellow/Content?oid=1335862

External links[edit]