Rachel Carson Bridge

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Rachel Carson Bridge
Pittsburgh Ninth Street Bridge.jpg
Rachel Carson Bridge as seen from the roof of the David L. Lawrence Convention Center
Coordinates40°26′48″N 79°59′59″W / 40.4467°N 79.9998°W / 40.4467; -79.9998Coordinates: 40°26′48″N 79°59′59″W / 40.4467°N 79.9998°W / 40.4467; -79.9998
CarriesNinth Street
Official nameRachel Carson Bridge
Other name(s)Ninth Street Bridge
Total length840 ft (260 m) (995 ft (303 m) with approaches)
Width62 ft (19 m)
Height78 ft (24 m)
Longest span410 ft (120 m)
Clearance below40.3 ft (12.3 m) above Emsworth Dam normal pool level (710 ft (220 m) above sea level)
OpenedNovember 26, 1926; 95 years ago (November 26, 1926)

Rachel Carson Bridge, also known as the Ninth Street Bridge, spans the Allegheny River in Downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the United States. The total length is 840 feet (260 m) including the 410-foot (120 m) main span and two 215-foot (66 m) side spans, or 995 feet (303 m) including the approaches. The total width of the deck is 62 feet (19 m), including the 38-foot (12 m) roadway plus two 10-foot (3.0 m) sidewalks outside the compressive plate girder. Whereas the roadway formerly carried two vehicle lanes and two streetcar tracks, it was changed to carry four wide vehicle lanes. The 2019-2020 refurbishment reduced the lanes to three.

Named for the naturalist and author Rachel Carson, a Pittsburgh native, it is one of three parallel bridges called the Three Sisters, the others being the Roberto Clemente Bridge and the Andy Warhol Bridge. The Three Sisters are self-anchored suspension bridges and are significant because they are the only trio of nearly identical bridges—as well as the first self-anchored suspension spans—built in the United States.


The bridge was dedicated and opened at a noon ceremony with Commissioner Babcock, Mayor Kline, and city council members including Herron and McArdle. The cost of construction was $1.46 million or $22.3 million in 2022 terms.[1]

The bridge was renamed on Earth Day, April 22, 2006, after years of lobbying by Esther Barazzone, president of Chatham University, the alma mater of the renowned environmentalist. Carson was born in 1907 in Springdale, Pennsylvania, in a farmhouse 18 miles (29 km) up the Allegheny River, now the Rachel Carson Homestead.[2]

On February 11, 2019 the bridge was closed to vehicles and pedestrians for a comprehensive rehabilitation project. The bridge was expected to remain closed until at least June 2020. Traffic was detoured over either the Andy Warhol Bridge or the Roberto Clemente Bridge, both of which run parallel and are less than 1/2 mile away from the Rachel Carson Bridge.[3][4]

The bridge reopened in November 2020 after the completion of a $23.3 million rehabilitation project. It was reconfigured from four lanes to three with the direction of the middle lane depending on time of day.[5]

Image gallery[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "New Ninth St. Bridge Opens". The Pittsburgh Press. November 26, 1926. Retrieved November 26, 2014.
  2. ^ *Sherman, Jerome L. (April 23, 2006). "Environmentalist Rachel Carson's Legacy Remembered on Earth Day". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved November 26, 2014.
  3. ^ "Pittsburgh's Rachel Carson Bridge (9th St. Bridge) will be CLOSED for construction until Summer 2020, then reopen with fewer lanes of traffic". WTAE. 28 January 2019.
  4. ^ "Pittsburgh's Rachel Carson Bridge closing in February for more than a year - TribLIVE.com". triblive.com.
  5. ^ Harrop, JoAnne Klimovich (November 23, 2020). "Rachel Carson Bridge reopens in Pittsburgh after lengthy closure". TribLIVE.com.

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