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Robert McAfee Bridge

Robert McAfee Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth and Rick McOmber

Bridge Documented: August 2, 2007 and July 1, 2014

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Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
California Avenue Over Woods Run, McClure Avenue, and Eckert Street
Pittsburgh: Allegheny County, Pennsylvania: United States
Structure Type
Metal One-Hinged Solid Ribbed Spandrel Braced Deck Arch, Fixed and Approach Spans: Metal Stringer (Multi-Beam), Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1928 By Builder/Contractor: Fort Pitt Bridge Works of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Engineer/Design: Pittsburgh Department of Public Works
Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
375.0 Feet (114.3 Meters)
Structure Length
642.0 Feet (195.7 Meters)
Roadway Width
38 Feet (11.58 Meters)
1 Main Span(s) and 7 Approach Span(s)
Inventory Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

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

This stunning bridge is an example of the bold bridge engineering that Pittsburgh was known for in the early 20th Century. It is a rare example of a steel deck arch bridge that features a single-hinge design. The hinge can be seen as a giant pin at the center of the arch. Because of this rare design, this bridge enjoys a high level of historic significance, and thus its maintenance and preservation is important.

 This bridge was altered in 1981 when stone arch approach spans and original railings were replaced with modern structures. This was a serious blow to the aesthetic qualities of the deck, however the superstructure remains intact and attractive looking.

This bridge is next to the Ohio River Boulevard Bridge.

Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory

Discussion of Bridge

The 8-span, 642'-long bridge has a 380'-long, 1-hinge, steel deck arch main span with two, built-up arch ribs, and Pratt trussing to carry the deck. Built in 1928, the bridge was originally flanked by stone arch approach spans but these were replaced by steel stringer spans in 1981. As part of the project to widen the bridge, a cantilevered deck section with safety-shape concrete parapets was placed on the steel arch. Although the bridge has lost its approach spans and original railing treatment, the 1-hinge steel arch span is complete and still functioning as originally designed. The 1-hinge design is very uncommon and makes the arch statically determinate, an advantage for calculating stresses and proportioning members to achieve an economical design. In the United States, a very limited number of 1-hinge steel arch bridges were built between 1920 and 1940. This 1928 example dates from Pittsburgh's golden age of bridge building when city and county engineers used a variety of long-span bridge types, and demonstrated a willingness to apply some very unusual designs, to improve major ravine and river crossings. The bridge is historically and technologically significant.

Discussion of Surrounding Area

The bridge carries a 2 lane street with sidewalks over a ravine and two city streets. The area is a mix of late-19th to late-20th-century residential, commercial, and light industrial development. The setting does not have the cohesiveness or integrity of a potential historic district.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes


Photo Galleries and Videos: Robert McAfee Bridge


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Bridge Photo-Documentation

A collection of overview and detail photos. This photo gallery contains a combination of Original Size photos and Mobile Optimized photos in a touch-friendly popup viewer.
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Maps and Links: Robert McAfee Bridge

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Bridgehunter.com: View listed bridges within 0.5 miles (0.8 kilometers) of this bridge.

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HistoricBridges.org Bridge Browser: View listed bridges within 10 miles (16 kilometers) of this bridge.

2021 National Bridge Inventory: View listed bridges within 0.5 miles (0.8 kilometers) of this bridge.

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