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Columbus Avenue Bridge

Washington Avenue Bridge / Warner Street Bridge

Columbus Avenue Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth and Rick McOmber

Bridge Documented: August 2, 2007

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Columbus Avenue Over Railroad (Norfolk Southern)
Location
Pittsburgh: Allegheny County, Pennsylvania: United States
Structure Type
Metal 8 Panel Rivet-Connected Warren Pony Truss, Fixed and Approach Spans: Metal Through Girder, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1907 By Builder/Contractor: Unknown

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
1990
Main Span Length
107 Feet (32.61 Meters)
Structure Length
237 Feet (72.24 Meters)
Roadway Width
27.9 Feet (8.5 Meters)
Spans
2 Main Span(s) and 1 Approach Span(s)
NBI Number
27301000030220

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

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

This bridge is extremely unusual because it features two spans set at largely different angles on the center pier resulting in a bridge of curved design, but whose curve is more like a turn at the center of the bridge. This unusual design is significant because it represents a form of design which would never be used in today's world of high speeds and semi truck traffic.

Sadly, this bridge suffers from several insensitive alterations. Historical significance is also hurt by this, which has had an adverse effect on the historic integrity of the structure. Numerous plates have been welded onto connections. Beams have been welded onto the top chord as well. Welds are also visible on some gusset plates. A number of rivets have been replaced with bolts.

Extensive cyclone fencing on the bridge is an extremely severe detriment to the aesthetic qualities of this bridge. These non-original alterations to the bridge could lead to the bridge being interpreted by the general public as an eyesore, even though the actual bridge itself is quite attractive with its unusual truss design.

Despite the fencing and the alterations to the structure, the bridge should still be considered for preservation because of its unusual curved/turning layout. The Pennsylvania Bridge Inventory gives the structure a fair review of its integrity, but does not even acknowledge the unusual configuration of the structure, and as such is an incomplete review.

Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory

Discussion of Bridge

The skewed, 3-span, 236'-long bridge built in 1907 consists of 2 rivet-connected Warren with verticals and a built up thru girder approach span. The bridge is supported on concrete abutments, a built-up steel bent, and a concrete column bent with a steel cap beam. In 1990, the truss spans were extensively altered with steel members welded and bolted to all built-up members. Connections were changed at many lower panel points from rivets to bolts. As a result of welding, the bridge has lost integrity of original design. It is an altered example of a common bridge type and design with no innovative details. More than 125 Warren truss bridges have been identified by the survey. The bridge does not contribute to the PHMC-determined eligible Ft. Wayne Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad based on the loss of integrity of original design. More complete examples like 02 7301 0000 3081 survive.

Discussion of Surrounding Area

The bridge carries a 2 lane street and 1 sidewalk over 8 active Conrail tracks in an industrial area in the Manchester section of Pittsburgh's North Side. The railroad is the former Pennsylvania RR Fort Wayne Division line to Chicago, determined eligible by PHMC in 1993. The former manufacturing area is undergoing redevelopment. There is a large, modern post office shipping facility at the southeast quadrant and a late 20th century warehouse across the street from it. West of the bridge are scattered, early 20th century brick factories. The area lacks the cohesiveness to be a potential historic district.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: No

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