The city of bridges is a phrase that was coined to refer to the town of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania because of the large number of bridges within its limits. Results from a study carried out in 2006, indicated that Pittsburgh had 446 bridges. The large number of bridges in Pittsburgh can be attributed to the city's terrain that is made up of river plains, valleys, and hills. The city's first bridge was made of wood and was officially opened in 1818. The city embarked on an ambitious plan to increase the number of bridges within its boundaries that begun in 1924 and ended in 1940. Some of Pittsburgh’s most essential bridges include the Liberty Bridge, the Hot Metal Bridge, and the Panhandle Bridge.
Major Bridges of Pittsburgh
The Liberty Bridge
One of Pittsburgh's most important bridges is the Liberty Bridge whose construction was accomplished in 1928. The bridge is classified as a steel cantilever bridge, and it covers a length of roughly 2,663 feet. Statistics indicated that each day, more than 60,000 vehicles use the Liberty Bridge. The Liberty Bridge was constructed to link the downtown area of Pittsburgh to the Liberty Hills. In 2016, a fire broke out during construction work on the bridge which led to the entire bridge being closed for nearly a month.
The Hot Metal Bridge
Another major bridge in Pittsburgh is the Hot Metal Bridge which was officially opened in 1887. The bridge covers a length of roughly 1,174 feet and is used by both vehicles and pedestrians. The Hot Metal Bridge is a significant part of the local popular culture as it was featured in a film in 2011. The bridge is also famous because it shares a name with an online magazine published by the University of Pittsburgh.
The Glenwood Bridge
The 2,280 foot long Glenwood Bridge is one of Pittsburgh's most essential bridges as it was constructed to connect the transport in one of the city's most important roads, PA 885, across the Monongahela River. The bridge was also built to replace an older bridge that had become unsafe to use.
The Panhandle Bridge
Officially opened in 1903, the Panhandle Bridge is one of the most famous bridges in Pittsburgh. The bridge is referred to as the Panhandle Bridge because in the past it was used by trains that operated along the Panhandle Route, which was the route that connected several towns such as St Louis and Chicago to Pittsburgh.
Seventh Street Bridge
Pittsburgh is home to one of the unique bridges in the US, the Seventh Street Bridge which is also referred to as the Andy Warhol Bridge. The bridge is unique because it was named after one of the most popular visual artists of the US and it is the sole bridge in the country named after a visual artist. In 2013, the bridge was the victim of yarn bombing when it was covered in more than 500 knit panels over four weeks.
The Economic Significance of Bridges in Pittsburgh
Bridges are vital to the economy of Pittsburgh as they allow vehicles and people to move from one area of the city to another. The bridges have also become a significant attraction for tourists visiting the city.
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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