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Field Notes:
Elizabeth Bridge, Allegheny County, PA

The Elizabeth Highway bridge carrying PA51 over the Monongahela River is officially known as the Regis R. Malady Bridge. There are signs mounted at the entrance piers on each end and plaques on the piers supporting the channel span which are visible from the sidewalk on the upstream side. Although no other builder plates are present, I estimate the construction date at 1948.

The superstructure arch is a subdivided Warren Truss modified into an arched shape. The channel span is 434.5 feet. The anchor spans appear to act as a counterbalance to the main arch. The arch is built with box girders similar to later bridges like the Fort Pitt Bridge built between 1956-60, and also shares oval-perforated W-shape structural steel members in the crossbracing and arch ribs. Both bridges use wire rope cables to suspend the road deck.

The Elizabeth Bridge crossbracing is made of many more and smaller pieces than the more modern Ft. Pitt Bridge, but fewer than the W. D. Mansfield cantilever at Dravosburg or the 1937 Lysle Ave Bridge (arch with suspended deck) at McKeesport.

The Elizabeth Bridge channel piers are rusticated stone while the approach piers and those visible from the traffic lanes are conrete. Those visible from the road are built up higher than the deck in a simplified pylon shapes and the form and minimal detailing reminds me of the abutments used on the newer sections of the PA Turnpike from Irwin to the Ohio line. That still follows with my estimated date.

The railings along the pedestrian walkways appear to be unique...I haven't seem others like them in the area yet. They include a series of steel shapes which are similar to the following:
Surprisingly, they have not been replaced by a cyclone fence or jersey barrier or some other less interesting modern construction.

There are numbers stenciled on the anchor span superstructure on the Elizabeth end which read (the first two characters are not clearly legible):

330 196 51
10 86

It's obvious that 51 is the PA route number, and 10 86 is the most recent major rehab date. I'm not sure what the rest means.

The superstructure is painted light blue, which has faded further over time.

The PA51 roadway leading to the bridge from each direction is four lanes of concrete (rather old, probably original). And there are several small bridges which cross the creek paralleling the road on the Elizabeth side. The smaller bridges were built by PA and have a keystone plaque on the end of the railing which indicates a date of 1948. These railings are a common design from the period (used throughout the 30s and later until the 1960s) which are concrete with vertical openings. These openings are finger-shaped...square on the bottom, vertical sides, semicircle at the top.

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Page created: Page created: 29-Mar-1999
Last modified: 29-Mar-1999