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Posts tagged “bridges

Getting Around in Pittsburgh

Photo of wooden steps next to arched bridge.
Photo of wooden steps next to arched bridge.

Pittsburgh Steps and Bridges

Wooden steps down into a ravine and a suspension bridge above it, that’s how you deal with the landscape around here. The bridge shown is the Charles Anderson Memorial Bridge over Junction Hollow, adjacent to Panther Hollow, and is one of the bridges connecting Oakland to Schenley Park, near where all the colleges are. It’s almost 800 feet long and is about 120 ft. high above the trail below. Dedicated in 1940 it’s a relative newcomer to the landscape though it replaced a 1907 bridge, using the original limestone abutments, and has a relatively rare type of bridge construction. Charles Anderson served on Pittsburgh’s city council, was a local and state labor leader and served labor in the federal government during WWI. The road this bridge connects is the Boulevard of the Allies, so named in honor and memory of WWI.

I always like the shade of turquoise used on bridges when the landscape is the warm brown of late autumn and early winter, you always know it’s a bridge up ahead, whether it’s a one-lane over a stream on a country road or a six-lane over a river on a highway. The rails, usually painted this gold, are often in this art-deco pattern from this era when most of our current bridges were built.

The wooden steps are quite new, though, built to allow access to both a few homes partway down the hillside to the ravine, and to Junction Hollow Trail which you can see way down at the bottom through the railing on the steps. There is also an access road to get the the trail and the houses, but it’s miles away around neighborhoods and through Oakland to get there. On these hills, you’ll find plenty of streets marked on maps that will turn out to be a long, steep set of steps when you get there.

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Doubles, 2011

reflected bridge
reflected bridge

Reflected Bridge

These concrete bridges and flood walls aren’t really very attractive until they are dressed with the first changing leaves of autumn and a perfect blue evening sky and a nearly perfect mirrored reflection in the still waters of Chartiers Creek.

This bridge is just outside of Canonsburg and will be part of a photo series I’ve been considering compiling into a calendar to benefit watershed and environmental groups along Chartiers Creek entitled “The Bridges of Chartiers Creek”. Exciting stuff, I know, except that as we canoed beneath the many bridges I noticed that each one was different from the next, with some of the oldest train trestles still standing and a variety of other styles and sizes of bridges all up and down the channel. Each of them is a particular style of construction which in itself is very interesting, and in a way, they chronicle the uses of the creek and the surrounding countryside. That’s the real purpose of it, to tell the stories.

Some bridges have been replaced since I began this project. If I take long enough we can all remember these neat bridges.


Roberto Clemente Bridge, 2011

roberto clemente bridge, pittsburgh

The Roberto Clemente Bridge, Pittsburgh

I took a little drive through Pittsburgh this evening at dusk, and while I didn’t take this photo this evening, what I saw reminded me of it, the gold of one of Pittsburgh’s bridges, the deep blue of the evening sky reflected on the gentle ripples of the river, the lights dancing. I thought it would be nice to share.

This is the Roberto Clemente Bridge, the former Sixth Street Bridge crossing the Allegheny River from Downtown Pittsburgh to the North Side right next to PNC Park. It was lit on this night because there was a game at the field.

It’s the first of the “three sisters bridges”, the next being the Andy Warhol Bridge and then the Rachel Carson Bridge—sisters in spirit, perhaps. You can see the stone piers and a little of the bridge decks and suspension wires beyond this one. I’m kind of proud that these three bridges are named for these three people.


The Three Rivers

monongahela river

Monongahela River

The skies were so dramatic today, huge clouds both creamy white and gray-purple sailing across the sky and casting oversized shadows on the land beneath. I drove across Mt. Washington again and, as always, stopped to photograph Pittsburgh. I did get a lovely set of images that I’ll combine into a panorama of the city with the buildings shining before deep gray clouds on the horizon, but today the element of fascination was the collection of bridges back and forth across all the rivers, and the rivers themselves, dark like bronze as the cold wind whipped the surface, erasing most reflections.

I’ve always loved Pittsburgh’s green and rolling tree-covered hills and the ridges along the river valleys, and of course it’s quite a show when autumn leaves color, but I also love the soft blues and purples of a November afternoon with the sun angling into the valley at its late autumn course.

Above is the Monongahela River with the Smithfield Street, Panhandle, Liberty, 10th Street and 16th Street Bridges; funny, I can remember the J&L mill taking up a good bit of the riverbanks in this scene years ago.

Below is the Allegheny River with the Fort Duquesne Bridge, “three sister bridges”, the Roberto Clemente, the Andy Warhol and the Rachel Carson Bridges, the Fort Wayne Railroad Bridge, the Veteran’s Bridge, the Sixteenth Street Bridge and the 31st Street Bridge.

allegheny River

Allegheny River

And finally is the Ohio River with the West End Bridge, the Ohio Connecting Railroad Bridge, and the McKees Rocks Bridge.

ohio river

The Ohio River


Doubles

reflected bridge

Reflected Bridge

These concrete bridges and flood walls aren’t really very attractive until they are dressed with the first changing leaves of autumn and a perfect blue evening sky and a nearly perfect mirrored reflection in the still waters of Chartiers Creek.

This bridge is just outside of Canonsburg and will be part of a photo series I’ve been considering compiling into a calendar to benefit watershed and environmental groups along Chartiers Creek entitled “The Bridges of Chartiers Creek”. Exciting stuff, I know, except that as we canoed beneath the many bridges I noticed that each one was different from the next, with some of the oldest train trestles still standing and a variety of other styles and sizes of bridges all up and down the channel. Each of them is a particular style of construction which in itself is very interesting, and in a way, they chronicle the uses of the creek and the surrounding countryside. That’s the real purpose of it, to tell the stories.

Some bridges have been replaced since I began this project. If I take long enough we can all remember these neat bridges.


Roberto Clemente Bridge

roberto clemente bridge, pittsburgh

The Roberto Clemente Bridge, Pittsburgh

I took a little drive through Pittsburgh this evening at dusk, and while I didn’t take this photo this evening, what I saw reminded me of it, the gold of one of Pittsburgh’s bridges, the deep blue of the evening sky reflected on the gentle ripples of the river, the lights dancing. I thought it would be nice to share.

This is the Roberto Clemente Bridge, the former Sixth Street Bridge crossing the Allegheny River from Downtown Pittsburgh to the North Side right next to PNC Park. It was lit on this night because there was a game at the field.

It’s the first of the “three sisters bridges”, the next being the Andy Warhol Bridge and then the Rachel Carson Bridge. You can see the stone piers and a little of the bridge decks and suspension wires beyond this one. I’m kind of proud that these three bridges are named for these three people.