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Commercial Street Bridge

Commercial Street Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: May 28, 2018 and November 4, 2019

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Pittsburgh: Allegheny County, Pennsylvania: United States
Structure Type
Concrete Open Spandrel Deck Arch, Fixed and Approach Spans: Concrete T-Beam, Fixed
Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
176.0 Feet (53.6 Meters)
Structure Length
863.0 Feet (263 Meters)
Roadway Width
Not Available
3 Main Span(s) and 12 Approach Span(s)
Inventory Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

This bridge's future is at risk!

Bridge Status: Slated for demolition and replacement by PennDOT!

This large concrete arch bridge is configured as two parallel bridges, and is noted for its lack of bracing between arch ribs, giving the bridge an open appearance. The bridge is located a short distance east of the Squirrel Hill Tunnel. One unusual feature in the design of this bridge is that slag material was used in the concrete for this bridge, reportedly provided by the Duquesne Slag Company.

PennDOT provides the following details:

Each structure has 15 spans divided into 5 individual units consisting of 1 western T-Beam approach, 3 central open spandrel arches, and 1 eastern T-Beam approach. Each approach unit contains 6 spans. Each bridge has an overall length of 858’-9” with the following span arrangement:
• 6-span west approach T-Beam unit with 5 spans of 27’-6” and 1 span of 29’-0”
• Single span open spandrel arch of 176’-2”
• Single span open spandrel arch of 175’-3”
• Single span open spandrel arch of 174’-4”
• 6-span east approach T-Beam unit with 1 span of 29’-0” and 5 spans of 27’-6”
Each of the dual bridges has a cross section consisting of a 1’-9” fascia barrier, a 10’-0” outside shoulder, two 12’-0” travel lanes, a 0’-6” inside shoulder, and a 1’-6” median barrier. This results in an out-to-out dimension of 75’-6” for both structures.

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

View Historical Article About This Bridge


Above: 1952 advertisement featuring bridge.

Above: 1954 advertisement featuring bridge.

Above: 1957 advertisement featuring bridge.

Above: 1959 advertisement featuring bridge.

Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory

Discussion of Bridge

The 15 span, 863'-long bridge built in 1950 is composed of 3 open spandrel arch spans of 170'-long each, and 12 T beam approach spans of approximately 28'-long each. Each arch has 4 ribs with plain spandrel columns supporting floorbeams. There is a longitudinal joint at the center line due to the 71.5' width. The bridge has vertically scored pilasters at the piers, but otherwise architectural details are minimal. Safety shape parapets replaced original railings in 1981. The bridge is a later example of the open spandrel arch bridge technology that was developed during the first decade of the 20th century. It has no individually noteworthy or innovative details. It was chosen for this location based on economy of material, projected low long-term maintenance costs, and aesthetics. Its significance is in association and physical connection with the Penn Lincoln Parkway, a nationally outstanding post-WW II urban expressway project. The parkway and its associated structures are historically and technologically significant.

Discussion of Surrounding Area

The bridge carries a 4 lane median divided highway over a city street and a stream. The Penn Lincoln Parkway (1946-1960) is an important engineering achievement that is an outstanding example of post-WW II urban expressway planning and design. It required innovative engineering solutions, including the construction of more than 60 bridges, 2 major tunnels, complex interchanges, and the relocation of existing streets and rail lines. The parkway was the largest single project directed by the state highway department up to that time stretching over 19.5 miles in a general east-west direction from US 22 in Churchill to downtown and then west to SR 60 in Robinson Twp. It was built in stages over a period of 14 years mainly to spread out the huge expense.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes


Photo Galleries and Videos: Commercial Street Bridge


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Maps and Links: Commercial Street Bridge

Coordinates (Latitude, Longitude):

Search For Additional Bridge Listings:

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 0.5 miles (0.8 kilometers) of this bridge.

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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