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1914 photo

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Bloomfield Bridge


Pittsburgh (Bloomfield - Herron Hill)

USGS 7.5" Topo Quad - UTM Coordinates:
Pittsburgh East - Zone 17; 0588 4479
-- Ridgeway St [PA380]

-- Liberty Av (opposite Main St), Bloomfield
-- Bigelow Blvd [Grant Blvd] (at Ridgeway St), Herron Hill

CROSSED (north to south):
-- Sassafras St, Neville St
-- Pittsburgh Junction RR [CSX, former B&O]
-- Norfolk Southern RR [former Conrail, PRR]
-- Melwood Av
deck cantilever


TOTAL LENGTH (including longest elevated ramp):
2,100 ft (1,740 ft total length of trusses)

185 ft

1914, closed May 1978, demolished 1980
replacement bridge opened November 3,1986

City of Pittsburgh:
T. J. Wilkerson, division engineer, division of bridges, Bureau of Engineering
Stanley L. Roush, architect
Fort Pitt Bridge Works, contractor
The Bloomfield Ravine and its southern counterpart, Four Mile Run/Junction Hollow were formed as a prehistoric course for the Monongahela River.

The ravine has been useful for the routing of railroads through its depths. The Pittsburgh Junction RR which was first laid through the 150-foot-deep valley in 1884-86. Part of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (CSX) mainline from Chicago, it linked raillines through Pine Creek valley (Etna) and Willow Grove rail yard on the north shore of the Allegheny River to (Pittsburgh Junction RR) Bloomfield Ravine and the tunnel under Neville St in Oakland to Junction Hollow (near Panther Hollow) and the Monongahela River at Laughlin Junction.

But the Bloomfield Ravine, as is common around Pittsburgh, is one of those landforms which severes adjacent lands into distinct neighborhoods. Bloomfield and Friendship spread over a gently rounded hilltop to the north and east; Herron Hill (aka Polish Hill) -- which with Bedford Hill is also known as "The Hill" -- rises above the Allegheny River floodplain in The Strip District.

It seems the separate neighborhoods had little to do with each other. Without the bridge, the trip between Bloomfield and Herron Hill is one-and-a-half miles. After years of planning and three years of construction, Grant Boulevard -- later renamed Bigelow Boulevard -- was cut into the brow of Herron Hill. The new boulevard was hailed as a "rapid transit" road connecting downtown Pittsburgh with newly developing Oakland. It was not long before nearby residents began to clammor for a connection from Bloomfield.

from Pittsburg Sun, November 19, 1914

Bloomfield Bridge Constructed Rapidly.

Bloomfield's new bridge is the longest, the highest and one of the most expensive structures of the kind that ever has been erected by the city. It took about one year to build it, the finishing touches having been put on it only last week, when the asphalt division of the department of public works laid the last square yard of paving, and the electrical division closed in the wiring on the lighting system. The bridge is a series of simple decked trusses supported on steel trestles with one long cantilever span supporting a suspended truss.

It carries a new highway from the Grant boulevard to the Lawrenceville-Bloomfield district at a point near the end of Cayuga street. The main portions of the structure span the Pennsylvania and Junction railroad trackage. The bridge carries a wide roadway and two sidewalks. It was designed by the city's bureau of bridges and erected at a cost approximating $450,000. The steel work was erected rapidly and the erection was accomplished without a single serious accident.

The roadway has a slight grade approaching the boulevard. Its completion obviates the necessity of a detour of one and one-half miles for all traffic between the two sections of the city which it serves. At the present time there is a proposition to erect a structure which is almost identical across the East street hollow to Spring Hill on the Northside.

The bridge connects Grant boulevard and Liberty avenue, opening in Liberty avenue at Main street and in the boulevard at Ridgway street. The citizens of the Bloomfield district have been fighting for such a bridge for the last 12 years.

The structure is 2,100 feet long, of which 1,740 feet is of steel construction. the balance concrete. The main span is 400 feet long, of cantilever construction, and consists of two cantilever arms, each 140 feet long, and one suspended span of 120 feet. [This] span is 185 feet above the tracks of the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Pittsburg Junction Railroad, which it crosses. The structural work embraces 3,614 tons of steel, with 6,000 cubic yards of concrete and 8,400 lineal feet of concrete piling. The approximate cost is $500,000. The bridge was designed by T. K. Wilkerson, division engineer, division of bridges, Bureau of Engineering of the City of Pittsburgh.

The ordinance for the bridge was passed by council January 7, 1913, and signed by former Mayor Magee the following day. The contract for the structural steel was let in December, 1913, to the Fort Pitt Bridge Works, this firm being successful over several other bidders.

When it is considered that the big structure is being turned over to the city complete in every detail in eight months from the letting of this contract, some idea may be had of the resourcefulness of the contractors and their ability to turn out big work in a minimum time.

Following is a list of several large bridges and other structures recently completed by this live Pittsburg concern: Cantilever bridge over Ohio River at Sewickley, Pa.; cantilever bridge over Allegheny River at Oil City, Pa.; bridges over Monongahela River at Monongahela, Pa., and Brownsville, Pa.; cantilever bridge, Davis avenue, Northside, Pittsburg; Wilmot street, arch bridge, Schenley Park, Pittsburg; bascule bridges for Salmon Bay waterway improvements, Washington, for the Northern Pacific and Great Northern railways; Boston Elevated Railway, Forest Hills extension; Transfer bridge for Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, Staten Island, N. Y.; bridges for Bronx improvements, New York, New Haven & Hudson River Railroad Company; bridges for elimination of grade crossings at Newark, Cleveland, Chicago and Pittsburg. Also many other bridges of the Pennsylvania, New York Central and other large railroad system. The Hoboken Terminal, Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad and the greater part of the New York Central Hudson River Railroad Company, Forty-second Street Terminal, New York City, was also built by them, as well as many of the open hearth plants, rolling mills, glass factories, coal tipples, etc. in the United States.

view page - Bloomfield Bridge 1986


Kidney, "Pittsburgh's Bridges"; Smith, "Pittsburgh: Then and Now"

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