PART V: Special Reports|
The City and The Allegheny River Bridges
Pittsburgh: Main Thoroughfares and The Down Town District
Frederick Law Olmsted report to The Pittsburgh Civic Commission, 1910
The Thirty-third Street or Pittsburgh Junction Railroad bridge of the Baltimore and Ohio System has 3 piers, giving a main central channel of 232 feet wide, with side channels 195 feet wide, and on the Herrs Island side of 150 feet. No change is needed in the location of the piers and channels at this bridge.
The Forty-third Street bridge is built with 3 piers, making 4 channels each of about 160 feet wide. It gives less clear head room at high river stages than most of the lower river bridges. It is an old wooden bridge, in poor physical condition. The best arrangement for this bridge is to treat it as the Sixteenth Street bridge, and to require it to be rebuilt, omitting the central pier and leaving a central channel about 300 feet wide, to correspond with the bridges below it. The elimination of railroad grade crossings on the approaches to this bridge is already a pressing public need and must soon result in its raising or reconstruction at a higher level.
Considerations against Requiring Changes in Bridges To Be Made at Present. -- The following important questions, having a direct bearing upon the proper design of permanent bridges across the Allegheny River, are now under consideration:
1. The Flood Commission is getting data for studying the question of a protective embankment along the river front, and of the proper grades of streets and bridge approaches in the region subject to inundation. The design of such flood-protection works should have important bearing upon the grade, location and design of the permanent bridge abutments. This Commission is also studying the question of impounding the flood waters of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers in their upper valleys, which may result in materially lessening the height and velocity of floods in the harbor of Pittsburgh, and consequently, simplify the bridge and navigation problems of the harbor.
2. The question of the best routes for surface cars and rapid transit lines crossing the Allegheny River is now being studied for the City as a part of a comprehensive plan for traction improvements. The result of these studies might readily affect the design of the new bridges.
3. The government experiments recommended by Colonel Alexander of the River and Harbor Committee and authorized in the River and Harbor bill just passed by Congress and providing