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Highland Avenue Bridge

Highland Avenue Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth and Rick McOmber

Bridge Documented: July 17, 2011

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Highland Avenue Over Railroad (Norfolk Southern) and Busway
Pittsburgh: Allegheny County, Pennsylvania: United States
Structure Type
Metal Through Girder, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1925 By Builder/Contractor: Fort Pitt Bridge Works of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
76 Feet (23.2 Meters)
Structure Length
117 Feet (35.7 Meters)
Roadway Width
36 Feet (10.97 Meters)
2 Main Span(s)
NBI Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
View Information About HSR Ratings

Bridge Documentation

This bridge no longer exists!

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

View Determination of Effect Report For This Historic Bridge

View Section 106 Mitigation For This Historic Bridge

This historic bridge was demolished April 13-14, 2013 as part of a replacement project!

This bridge has two spans, a large through plate girder and a smaller through plate girder. The larger span is quite large, and as a result the girders are very  tall. The bridge also has decorative railings on the pedestrian sidewalks. The bridge sits on an 1878 substructure that predates the bridge.

This bridge is to be demolished and replaced, despite the fact that the bridge strongly contributes to the character and integrity of the historic Pennsylvania Railroad line. It is interesting to note that the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation, an organization whose name suggests an interest in historic preservation wrote a letter in response to the proposal to demolish this historic bridge stating "We are not opposed to the demolition and replacement of the South Highland Avenue Bridge." It is unclear how supporting the destruction of our nation's transportation heritage supports the organization's mission which includes "identify and save historically significant places."

Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory

Discussion of Bridge

The 2 span, 117'-long, built up thru girder bridge built in 1925 is supported on ashlar abutments and pier. The bridge is of unequal span lengths with shallower girders used for the shorter south span. It has cantilevered sidewalks with standard pipe railings outside of the girders. Chain link fences have been added. The bridge is a very common type with no individually distinctive features or details. The bridge's significance is in association with the development of the PHMC-determined eligible PRR Main Line. It dates from the line's period of significance and it is associated with efforts to improve the safety and efficiency of the line by improving grade crossings. The bridge was built as a joint project of the railroad and the city.

Discussion of Surrounding Area

The bridge carries a 2 lane street and 2 sidewalks over 2 active Conrail tracks, the Port Authority's East Busway, and a city street. The setting is a mix of early 20th to late 20th century commercial buildings. The railroad is the former Pennsylvania RR (PRR) Main Line, one of the most important transportation corridors in the nation. Originally 4 tracked, 2 tracks have been removed for the busway. The PRR Main Line from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh has been determined eligible by PHMC (DOE 9/14/93).

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes


Photo Galleries and Videos: Highland Avenue Bridge

View Photo Gallery
Bridge Photo-Documentation
Original / Full Size Photos
A collection of overview and detail photos. This gallery offers photos in the highest available resolution and file size in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer
View Photo Gallery
Bridge Photo-Documentation
Mobile Optimized Photos
A collection of overview and detail photos. This gallery features data-friendly, fast-loading photos in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer
View Video
Northbound Crossing
Full Motion Video
Streaming video of the bridge. Also includes a higher quality downloadable video for greater clarity or offline viewing.


Maps and Links: Highland Avenue Bridge

This historic bridge has been demolished. This map is shown for reference purposes only.

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