Liberty Bridge (Pittsburgh)

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Liberty Bridge
Liberty Bridge.jpg
The arching Liberty bridge (second from foreground) crosses the Monongahela.
Coordinates40°25′58″N 79°59′48″W / 40.4328°N 79.9967°W / 40.4328; -79.9967Coordinates: 40°25′58″N 79°59′48″W / 40.4328°N 79.9967°W / 40.4328; -79.9967
Carries4 lanes of roadway
CrossesMonongahela River
LocalePittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Official nameLiberty Bridge
Other name(s)South Hills Bridge
Maintained byAllegheny County
DesignCantilever bridge
Total length2,663 feet (812 m)
Longest span2 spans, each 448 feet (137 m)
Clearance below44.4 feet (13.5 m)
OpenedMarch 27, 1928; 94 years ago (1928-03-27)
Daily traffic63,000[1]

The Liberty Bridge, completed in 1928, connects downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to the Liberty Tunnels and the South Hills neighborhoods beyond. It crosses the Monongahela River and intersects Interstate 579 (the Crosstown Boulevard) at its northern terminus.


View of the Liberty Bridge 5 months after its opening, taken from the Bluff neighborhood

The Liberty Bridge is a steel cantilever bridge and was constructed as the missing link between downtown Pittsburgh and the Liberty Tunnel, which had been constructed four years earlier in 1924 as a link to the South Hills. The bridge opened on March 27, 1928, following a 5-mile (8.0 km) vehicle parade[2] from the southern suburbs of the city, which crossed the Smithfield Street Bridge and proceeded through downtown before ending at the southern end of the new bridge.[3]

It was designed by George S. Richardson and cost $3,456,000 to build. It is 2663' 3/16" long, though the main span is 448' and the water clearance is 44.4'.[4]

It was renovated in 1982 by the Dick Corporation, at a cost of $32 million.[citation needed]


On September 2, 2016 the Liberty Bridge was closed for 24 days, following a fire during construction work on the bridge.[5][6] Intense heat from burning plastic piping had caused a 30-foot (9 m) steel beam (compression chord) to buckle.[7] The bridge reopened to weight-limited traffic on September 26th, and full traffic on September 30th. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation assessed the value of the damages at over $3 million.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Holding down the fort". December 6, 2007. Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  2. ^ "The Liberty Bridge Dedication - 1928". Retrieved October 25, 2010.
  3. ^ Gruen, J. Philip (August 1997). "Liberty Bridge" (PDF). Historic American Engineering Record. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress. p. 7. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 23, 2012. Retrieved January 28, 2014.
  4. ^ "Liberty Bridge - Bridges and Tunnels of Allegheny County and Pittsburgh, PA".
  5. ^ "Liberty Bridge open again, but with a 9-ton limit on vehicles". September 26, 2016. Retrieved October 17, 2016.
  6. ^ "Fire closes Liberty Bridge and Tunnel indefinitely, causing traffic nightmare". September 2, 2016. Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  7. ^ "PennDOT works on Liberty Bridge timeline". September 4, 2016. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  8. ^ "PennDOT sets damages from Liberty Bridge closure at $3 million". November 2, 2016. Retrieved November 2, 2016.

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