View west from South Tenth St Bridge
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Penn Lincoln Parkway East westbound lanes
elevated lanes near Allegheny County Jail
USGS 7.5" Topo Quad - UTM Coordinates:
Pittsburgh East - Zone 17; 0585 4476
-- westbound Parkway East [I-376, US22, US30] (3 lanes)
-- South Tenth St Bridge; Allegheny County Jail and Municipal Courts parking lot; Eliza Furnace Trail trailhead; former B&O RR yard
TYPE OF CONSTRUCTION / DESIGN:
cantilever supported by pinned connections at expansion joints
reinforced concrete columns with girder bent caps
LENGTH OF MAIN SPAN:
TOTAL LENGTH (including longest elevated ramp):
1750 ft (12 spans)
HEIGHT OF DECK:
YEAR ERECTED / ENGINEER:
1956, PA Dept of Highways
This 12 span viaduct represents a compromise with the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. The freight yard which was once located here was up to 16 tracks wide with a private road in the center. So while the B&O removed all of their buildings from Smithfield St eastward -- replacing them with a much smaller building -- the tracks were still in place. Carrying the highway diagonally over the yard and bringing the road from the base of the Bluff to the river's edge, the columns carefully stepped between the tracks of the freight yard.
Railroad traffic continued to decline and although there were attempts to utilize the B&O station as a depot for commuter rail (PATrain), the area fell further into disuse.
Over time, the land has been cleared. All remnants of the railroad are gone. Piece by piece, new projects have filled the void, beginning with the new Allegheny County Jail in 1995. The Municipal Courts Building was tucked below the Liberty Bridge. The Eliza Furnace recreational trail links downtown to Oakland along the old raiload right of way. The PNC Operations Center now stands on the site of the newer B&O station which had been built in an attempt to get out of the way of the Parkway construction in 1956. The First Ave Parking Garage was built in 2001 with a connection to the Port Authority "T" subway.
The compromises which led to a raised viaduct have created the fortunate opening which allows the easier access between downtown and the developing tech center along Second Av. The Eliza Furnace Trail gets heavy traffic on foot, bike and rollerblade -- without interference from motor vehicles even though it travels directly between the opposing lanes of the Parkway East.
This is also one of those rare, if trivial, locations where opposing Interstate highway traffic passes both under and over the same road: the South Tenth St Bridge.
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