The city of Pittsburgh is located in the US state of Pennsylvania, and it has the highest number of bridges of any city in the world. The city has been nicknamed The City of Bridges because of the numerous bridges which total 446. The city is located near three major rivers and numerous ravines which necessitates the city's high number of bridges.
Geography of Pittsburgh
The city of Pittsburgh sits at the confluence of the Ohio River, Allegheny River, and Monongahela River, some of the longest rivers in Pennsylvania. Approximately 40 bridges cross these three rivers in and around Pittsburgh. The city has an area of 58.3 square miles (151 km2). The Golden Triangle or Central Pittsburgh, the downtown area of the city, sits at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers, known as "The Point," to form the Ohio River. Many of the tallest buildings in Pittsburgh are located here. The other major areas of Pittsburgh are named for their locations relative to the rivers; namely the East End, West End, North Side, and South Side. Many of the city's neighborhoods are steeply sloped. In fact, Pittsburgh is home to the world's steepest street with Canton Street on a 37% gradient.
History of Bridges in Pittsburgh
The first bridge in Pittsburgh was constructed using wood and logs and was opened officially in 1818. The oldest standing bridge in the city of Pittsburgh is the present day Smithfield Street Bridge having been opened in 1883, and in 1976, it was named as one of the US’s national historic landmarks. The city of Pittsburgh started a huge campaign between 1924 and 1940 of building bridges and roads and some of the oldest bridges in the city date to this time. When the interstate road systems were constructed, it triggered another period of major construction experience in the late 20th century. For the more than hundred years of building bridges, the city of Pittsburgh is home to almost all main types of bridges such as cantilever, arch, and suspension bridged among others, which were built using locally produced steel. The majority of bridges in downtown Pittsburgh have the Aztec gold color either because they were constructed that way or were painted that way afterward. The city’s official colors are gold and black, and there are very few bridges that do not have these colors, for instance, the Hot Metal Bridge which had become dormant for a long time until in 2000 when it was reopened again as a bridge for passengers only.
The Fort Pitt Bridge
The bridge is double-decked and crosses over Monongahela River at the point where the river joins the Allegheny River. The bridge carries the Interstate 376 from Pittsburgh downtown to Fort Pitt tunnel. The bridge was the first of its kind computer designed in the world, and it is popular for complex lane changes particularly on the lower part of the bridge, which requires motorist to move from the lane on the extreme left-hand side to the lane on the extreme right-hand side in about 300 feet. George S. Richardson was the designer of the bridge and was built at the cost of $6.305 million. It was officially opened on June 19th, 1959 by Governor David L. Lawrence. When it was officially opened, it had consumed 8,066 tons of steel, besides other materials such as structural carbon steel and reinforcing steel rods.
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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