10 of Our Favorite Bridges in Pittsburgh

Photo: Mariano Mantel

By Kalena Thomhave

December 14, 2022

We’ve put together a list of ten of our favorite bridges in Pittsburgh. Most well-known bridges cross either the Alleghany or Monongahela Rivers, but there are smaller bridges inside the city limits that span valleys and streams too.

If you’re a Pennsylvanian, there’s a good chance you already know that Pittsburgh is known as the City of Bridges. The state’s second-largest city claims to have the most bridges of any city in the country, with a grand total of 446. (Well, make that 445 bridges since the collapse of the Fern Hollow Bridge. But that number should be back to 446 before Christmas.

We’ve put together a list of ten of our favorite bridges in Pittsburgh. Most well-known bridges cross either the Alleghany or Monongahela Rivers, but there are smaller bridges inside the city limits that span valleys and streams too. Pittsburgh’s bridges are historic, look cool, and most are gold for some reason—what’s not to love?

Fort Pitt Tunnel Bridge

Spans the Monongahela River

It’s hard to describe what makes the Fort Pitt Tunnel Bridge so special, and it’s hard even to depict it with merely a picture. You kind of have to experience for yourself why The New York Times has called Pittsburgh “the only city in America with an entrance.” Usually, this experience happens on the drive from the Pittsburgh airport to downtown. Heading north on the interstate before you enter the Fort Pitt Tunnel, you’re surrounded by the distinctive wooded hills of Western PA. But as soon as you exit the tunnel—onto the Fort Pitt Tunnel Bridge—you’re neatly deposited into the city itself, with a wide panoramic view of the city’s skyline and its rivers before you.

10 of Our Favorite Bridges in Pittsburgh
Photo: ucumari photography

Hot Metal Bridge

Spans the Monongahela River

Clearly this is the bridge with the best name in all of Pittsburgh. And the name is for a good reason. The first Hot Metal Bridge carried molten iron—hot metal!—from one side of the Monongahela to the other, where it would be converted into steel. Nowadays the Hot Metal Bridge carries pedestrians and cars across the Mon—there are separate spans of the bridge for foot traffic and vehicular traffic. In fact, the Great Allegheny Passage bike trail runs over the Hot Metal Bridge.

Three Sisters Bridges

Span the Allegheny River

These three bridges are likely the most famous and most-photographed bridges in Pittsburgh. All three are gold self-anchored suspension bridges named after famous Pittsburghers. Excuse me, the technical color name is Aztec gold. They may have been painted gold to match the coat of arms of William Pitt—who, you might guess, is the source of the city’s name. Pitt’s coat of arms, surprise surprise, was black and gold (as are the team colors of the Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins). Or, as another story goes, they were painted Aztec gold in honor of downtown’s Golden Triangle. Perhaps both. Whatever the reason, Pittsburghers have been reluctant to accept any other color.

The Roberto Clemente Bridge, also known as the Sixth Street Bridge, is named after the Puerto Rican Pittsburgh Pirates Hall of Famer, widely considered one of the best players of all time. The Clemente Bridge leads to PNC Park, where the Pirates play.

The Andy Warhol Bridge, also known as the Seventh Street Bridge, is named after the artist. Warhol was born in Pittsburgh and a museum dedicated to his work, the Warhol, is located near this bridge.

The Rachel Carson Bridge, also known as the Ninth Street Bridge, is named after the environmentalist and author who was originally from Pittsburgh. Carson’s book “Silent Spring” helped spur the environmental movement against harmful pesticides, eventually leading to the banning of DDT.

10 of Our Favorite Bridges in Pittsburgh
Photo: LymondSevigny

Smithfield Street Bridge

Spans the Monongahela River

Built in the early 1880s, the Smithfield Street Bridge is the oldest bridge in Pittsburgh. It’s also the oldest steel bridge in the US This bridge connects downtown Pittsburgh with the South Side, and though some of its arches are gold, it’s one of the few major historic bridges that isn’t painted entirely gold.

David McCollough Bridge

Spans the Allegheny River

This bridge, also known as the 16th Street Bridge, was named after the historian and author, who was born in Pittsburgh. It’s also extremely cool (it is this author’s favorite). It’s a steel through arch bridge with three arches that helps Pittsburghers cross the Allegheny River. During Pittsburgh’s devastating St. Patrick’s Day Flood in 1936, there was a report that the bridge had entirely collapsed, and officials spread this message throughout the city. Fortunately, the bridge was still there.

Birmingham Bridge

Spans the Monongahela River

The Birmingham Bridge is a giant of a bridge. It’s a tall arch bridge that’s certainly one of the younger bridges in Pittsburgh, having only been built in 1976, and as a result it’s rather simpler than the elaborate historic bridges that surround the city. But it sure is big, and there’s a reason—the bridge was overbuilt because it was intended to connect to many more highways than it does. You can even see “stubs” of exit ramps on the bridge that were planned but never built.

Panther Hollow Bridge

Spans Panther Hollow in Schenley Park

This bridge doesn’t cross over one of the major Pittsburgh rivers. It’s located in Schenley Park near the University of Pittsburgh and is surrounded by the lovely scenery of Panther Hollow Lake, with walking trails underneath. Originally built in 1896, the Panther Hollow Bridge is particularly notable because of the four panther sculptures that adorn each corner of the bridge.

Phillip Murray Bridge

Spans the Monongahela River

The Phillip Murray Bridge, usually known as the South 10th Street Bridge or simply the Tenth Street Bridge, was named after the first president of the United Steelworkers of America. This labor union’s headquarters is naturally in Pittsburgh. The bridge, built in the early 1930s, is the only cable suspension bridge in Pittsburgh, and is also painted gold. One exception to the gold: four paintings of geese at the top of one of the towers, painted in the 90s and repainted in 2018 after community pressure to “save the geese.”

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