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
This bridge is tagged with the following special condition(s): Unorganized Photos
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