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West End Bypass over South Main St


USGS 7.5" Topo Quad - UTM Coordinates:
Pittsburgh West - Zone 17; 0582 4477
West End Bypass [US19, PA51] southbound
Saw Mill Run Blvd

-- south of Steuben St

-- South Main St [PA60]

Deck steel girder


TOTAL LENGTH (including longest elevated ramp):
215 ft


1950, PA Dept of Highways

from the PennDOT Historic Bridges survey:
The bridge carries 2 lanes of one-directional traffic over Main Street in Pittsburgh's West End neighborhood that is an undistinguished mix of early and mid 20th century commercial buildings and residences. The area does not have historic district potential.

The 1950, skewed, 3 span, 215'-long, steel stringer bridge is supported on horizontally scored concrete abutments with wingwalls and piers. The spans are simply supported. The bridge has standard design concrete balustrades and built up diaphragms with a segmental bottom edge. A late example of the most common bridge type in the state, it has no innovative details.

The bridge is one of more than 170 stringer bridges in Allegheny County. Nor is the bridge located in a potential historic district. Neither the bridge nor its setting is historically or technologically significant.

The West End Bypass was built in 1950 as an extension of Saw Mill Run Blvd.

Some 20 years earlier the Allegheny County Public Works Department had completed major projects on either side of the West End Valley -- Saw Mill Run Blvd in 1928 and the West End Bridge in 1932 -- but there was no easy connection between them. Traffic was routed over the relatively narrow city streets of the West End (aka Temperanceville): Woodville Rd and Independence St, formerly Washington Pike. Further up Saw Mill Run, the valley split into two main branches at Shalersville; the western branch, named Banksville Run, was accompanied by Banksville Rd and the Banksville (coal) Railroad. The eastern branch held the main stream of Saw Mill Run -- its Little Saw Mill Run Railroad was acquired by the Wabash Pittsburg Terminal Railroad (later West Side Belt Railroad, etc, now Wheeling and Lake Erie) whose large metal trestles remain a noteable feature in the valley. The roadway following Saw Mill Run south from Shalersville was Woodville, Woodstock, and Woodruff streets -- cutoff "oxbows" of these are still evident.

With the completion of the Liberty Tunnel further south in 1924, the valley received an increase in traffic and was also seen as a possible location for a "modern" highway. In 1920's terms, this would be a wider roadway of more than one lane in each direction. A 1928 bond issue provided for the construction of four such boulevards in Allegheny County: Saw Mill Run Blvd, Ohio River Blvd, Allegheny River Blvd (each of which received special landscaping and entrance pylons with carved scenes from local history) and Mosside Blvd.

Saw Mill Run Blvd began at the conjunction of Clairton Blvd [PA51] and Library Rd [PA88]. (Clairton Blvd extends deep into the southwestern part of the county including the area's first "modern" interchange at the crossroads which linked to South Park and the County Airport.) The new boulevard continued northward along its namesake stream to the intersection with Banksville Rd ending at Banksville Circle -- a traffic circle which was once at the current location of the Parkway West just outside the Ft Pitt Tunnel.

With the construction of the Penn Lincoln Parkway, completed in 1953, the disjointed pieces were linked via the West End Bypass which would also offer an alternate route around the Fort Pitt Tunnel for Parkway traffic. Such was the case during the tunnel's reconstruction in 1999-2000 and the Bypass was reconstructed and widened in anticipation.

With the reconfiguration of the West End Circle (2000-2008), the 3 span, 1950 structure over South Main Street in the West End will be replaced with a new bridge slightly to the west.

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Page created:
Last modified: 13-Jul-2004

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