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photo of bridge

View southwest from Alexis St

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OFFICIAL NAME:
Swinburne Bridge

OTHER DESIGNATION:
Sylvan Av Bridge

LOCATION:
Pittsburgh

USGS 7.5" Topo Quad - UTM Coordinates:
Pittsburgh East - Zone 17; 0589 4475
CARRIES:
-- Frazier St



BETWEEN:
-- Swinburne St upper section (South Oakland)
-- Greenfield Av opposite Sylvan Av

CROSSES:
-- Saline St [formerly Forward Av]


TYPE OF CONSTRUCTION / DESIGN:
riveted plate girder on trussed bents

LENGTH OF MAIN SPAN:


TOTAL LENGTH (including longest elevated ramp):


HEIGHT OF DECK:


YEAR ERECTED / ENGINEER:
reconstructed 1915
ADDITIONAL INFO:
For about 100 years, residents of the Four Mile Run Valley have entered their neighborhood beneath the Sylvan Avenue Bridge. In years past there were three entrances into the valley: Saline St (aka Forward Av) under this bridge; Boundary St, coverted to part of the Eliza Furnace recreational trail, once marked the eastern edge of the city of Pittsburgh in Junction Hollow; and Saline St following the valley toward Squirrel Hill -- now cut off by the Parkway East.

This bridge was reconstructed in 1915 as the high steel viaduct standing today -- now called the Swinburne Bridge. But that structure is dwarfed by the 1,000-foot-long web of steel which carries the Parkway East some seven stories above the valley floor.

There was some controversy in 1913 regarding the use a bond issue to fund the reconstruction. Some thought the $130,000 should come from appropriations from the general funds. Though there is nothing particularly artistic about the structure, the working drawings were approved by the Art Commission on September 17, 1914. The Art Commission is noted for its power in guiding the design of public works projects, especially its insistence that suspension bridge be the form used for the Three Sisters over the Allegheny River at Sixth, Seventh, and Ninth St. Yet in the instance of this bridge, the commission seems to have been lacking in involvement.

At the north end of the Swinburne Bridge, a comparison of the 1904 Hopkins map with the the current layout indicates Sylvan Av (later known in the location as Frazier St) once crossed Swinburne St here. Today, Sylvan St stops at Greenfield Av. Frazier St is marked on the Swinburne Bridge and is also found on the bluff of South Oakland. A 1921 street plan for Pittsburgh indicates a steep grade of up to 7.5 percent from the old bridge to the bluff. With the construction of the Parkway in 1950, this once continuous road would be severed. Previously intersecting here was Swinburne St, which is also severed today. The lower section intersects with Second Av near the Jones and Laughlin steel mill site; it dead ends at the Parkway. But the name Swinburne St continues from the north end of the Swinburne Bridge -- curls above the southern opening of Junction Hollow and ascending to South Oakland.



FIELD CHECKED:


INFO SOURCES:
Bureau of Municipal Research report, 1913; "An account of the work of the Art commission of the city of Pittsburgh from its creation in 1911 to January 1st, 1915."


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Introduction -- Nearby Structures


Page created:
Last modified: 06-Jul-2001

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