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Swindell Bridge

East Street Bridge

Swindell Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: July 6, 2014

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Key Facts

Pittsburgh: Allegheny County, Pennsylvania: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1930 By Builder/Contractor: Fort Pitt Bridge Works of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Engineer/Design: Pittsburgh Department of Public Works

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
545 Feet (166.1 Meters)
Structure Length
1,097 Feet (334.4 Meters)
Roadway Width
25 Feet (7.62 Meters)
3 Main Span(s) and 1 Approach Span(s)
NBI Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

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

This bridge is officially named the E. H. Swindell after a Pittsburgh businessman. The bridge is one of the largest bridge spans in Pittsburgh that doesn't go over a river. It crosses a valley which originally contained a street and many buildings, but today just contains mostly highways, which consumed all the land once occupied by the buildings.  The bridge contains connections which are mostly riveted, but some diagonal members are pin-connected. The bridge retains original railings and overall the historic integrity appears to be good. It is a visually impressive bridge and in addition to its engineering significance as a long-span deck truss, it is also a visual gateway for travelers entering and exiting downtown Pittsburgh.

Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory

Discussion of Bridge

The 4 span, 1,097' long, cantilevered Pratt deck truss bridge was built by the city in 1930 using the same cantilever and suspended section principles as the other long-span bridges of the era. The main span over the ravine is 515' long. All members are riveted except for the tension diagonals that are pinned, apparently for ease of construction. It is finished wit steel railings with a fleur-de-lis pattern similar to other 1930s and early 1940s bridges in the city. The safety shape barriers and pedestrian fencing were placed in 1990. The bridge is a later example of engineering principles common by the early 1920s. It is not historically or technologically significant.

Discussion of Surrounding Area

The bridge carries a 2 lane street and sidewalks over a 6 lane, median divided highway, a 2 lane exit ramp, and a city street in Pittsburgh's North Side. It originally crossed East Street. Charles Street is residential including a large subsidized housing project high rise on the east side of the bridge.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: No


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