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The Smithfield Street Bridge is a lenticular truss bridge crossing the Monongahela River in Pittsburghmarker, Pennsylvaniamarker, USAmarker.

The bridge was designed by Gustav Lindenthal, the engineer who later designed the Hell Gate Bridge. The bridge was built between 1881-83, opening for traffic on March 19, 1883. It was widened in 1889 and widened again in 1911. The bridge has been designated a National Historic Civic Engineering Landmark, a National Historic Landmark, and has a Historic Landmark Plaque from the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation.


The present bridge is the third bridge at the site and remains the oldest steel bridge in the United States. In 1818, a wooden bridge was built across the Monongahela by Louis Wernwag at a cost of $102,000. This bridge was destroyed in Pittsburgh's Great Fire of 1845. The second bridge on the site was a wire rope suspension bridge built by John A. Roebling. Increases in both bridge traffic and river traffic eventually made the lightly-built bridge with eight short spans inadequate. The present Lindenthal bridge was built in its place.

The Smithfield Street bridge is the second-to-last of the many bridges which span the Monongahela before the river joins with the Allegheny River to form the Ohio River at Downtown Pittsburghmarker. The Fort Pitt Bridge is further downstream of it.

The bridge also served the Pittsburgh Railways streetcar system with a rail line that continued on a loop from the Mt. Washington Transit Tunnel through downtown on Wood Street, Grant Street and Liberty Avenue. The streetcar rail line was abandoned July 3, 1985, when the streetcars were diverted to the Panhandle Bridgemarker and the new light rail subway.

The bridge's short clearance from the river as well as its deteriorated condition convinced PennDOTmarker officials to demolish the bridge and to replace it with a modern bridge. Lobbying by Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation on the merits of preserving the bridge were considered by officials. In 1994-1995 the bridge was rehabilitated with a new deck, a colorful paint scheme, and architectural lighting. The abandoned rail lines became an extra traffic lane and there was an addition of a light-controlled bus lane which is activated during peak traffic hours. The bridge also has the distinction of being the most heavily walked pedestrian bridge, mostly commuters that park at Station Squaremarker.

The bridge connects Smithfield Street in Downtown Pittsburgh with Station Square.

Image Gallery

Image:Pittsburgh_Smithfield_Street_bridge.jpg|Detail of the ironwork on the Smithfield Street bridge, looking south.Image:SmithfieldBridge-Szmurlo.jpg|The Smithfield Bridge at dusk

External links

See also


  1. Carquinez Associates, U.S. Urban Rail Transit Lines Opened From 1980

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