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Fort Pitt Bridge

Fort Pitt Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: June, 2004 and July 16, 2011

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
I-279 and I-376 Over Monongahela River
Pittsburgh: Allegheny County, Pennsylvania: United States
Structure Type
Metal Tied Solid Ribbed Through Arch, Fixed and Approach Spans: Metal Deck Girder, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1959 By Builder/Contractor: American Bridge Company of New York, New York and Engineer/Design: Richardson, Gordon, and Associates

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
750 Feet (228.6 Meters)
Structure Length
1207 Feet (367.89 Meters)
Roadway Width
51.8 Feet (15.79 Meters)
1 Main Span(s) and 4 Approach Span(s)
NBI Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

View Archived National Bridge Inventory Report - Has Additional Details and Evaluation

View Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) Documentation For This Bridge

HAER Drawings, PDF (Previous Bridge) - HAER Data Pages, PDF (Previous Bridge)

View A Historical Article About The Previous Bridge At This Location

This bridge is the larger of two nearly identical bridges (the other is the Duquesne Bridge over Allegheny River) that cross the two rivers just before they merge to form the Ohio River. Built during the time of urban renewal, two of the finest bridges in Pittsburgh were demolished to make way for these structures. The Fort Pitt Bridge was the replacement for the Point Bridge (See HAER documentation link above).

The Fort Pitt Bridge's main arch span is about 200 feet longer than the Duquesne Bridge's main span. The arch design of the bridge is uncommon... steel through arch bridges have historically been an uncommon structure type, although Pittsburgh has a relatively large number. As such, the bridge is not locally distinguished in terms of historic significance, with structures such as the West End Bridge or 16th Street nearby. However, the bridge would be a noteworthy feature if located elsewhere in the country, so it has a decent National HSR rating given its relatively late 1959 construction.

The bridge features traditional period construction, which includes the continued use of rivets and built up members. Traditional period construction is further expressed with the continued use of built-up members, but using the period techniques that use either plate steel or plate steel with holes in place of v-lacing and lattice. Other structural design features of the bridge include an arch that is not trussed, and cable verticals. The bridge features a double-deck design. The decks are essentially supported to what amounts to a Warren truss structure. It is interesting to note that despite the size of the bridge, the fabricator and/or contractor of the bridge remains unknown. George S. Richardson was the engineer of the structure.

Despite being relatively young, the Fort Pitt Bridge is far more attractive than any modern bridge could hope to be, and along with the Duquesne Bridge and the West End Bridge, they form a somewhat pleasing symmetry to the downtown landscape, which is greatly defined by these three great rivers and the bridges that span in this area.

Above: Photo showing the suspension bridge that was at this location from 1877-1927. Source: Library of Congress


Photos and Videos: Fort Pitt Bridge

Available Photo Galleries and Videos

Click on a thumbnail or gallery name below to visit that particular photo gallery. If videos are available, click on a video name to view and/or download that particular video.

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Bridge Photo-Documentation
Original / Full Size Photos
A collection of overview and detail photos. For the best visual immersion and full detail, or for use as a desktop background, this gallery presents the photos for this bridge in the original digital camera resolution.
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Bridge Photo-Documentation
Mobile Optimized Gallery
A collection of overview and detail photos. View the photos for this bridge in a reduced size which is useful for mobile/smartphone users, modem (dial-up) users, or those who do not wish to wait for the longer download times of the full-size photos. Alternatively, view this photo gallery using a popup slideshow viewer (great for mobile users) by clicking the link below.
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Eastbound Crossing
Full Motion Video
This video includes the approaching drive through the tunnel. This is the famous gateway entrance into downtown Pittsburgh. Streaming video of the bridge. Also includes a higher quality downloadable video for greater clarity or offline viewing.
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Westbound Crossing
Full Motion Video
This video includes the drive through the tunnel. Streaming video of the bridge. Also includes a higher quality downloadable video for greater clarity or offline viewing.
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Westbound Crossing
Full Motion Video
Streaming video of the bridge. Also includes a higher quality downloadable video for greater clarity or offline viewing.

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