To live in, around, or near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania means that at sometime during either your daily commute or leisurely travels you will cross a bridge. (Pittsburgh has 446 of them at last count.) I don’t just mean the kind of big that goes over a creek (crick in our parlance) or stream, but a big hulking mass of steel, suspended, supported, or a cantilever across one of our three rivers.
You see, two rivers form a third right in the middle of the city. Industry and commerce did not contain itself to the area in side the triangle of land formed by this confluence. Rather, Pittsburgh is a collection of neighborhoods formed along the banks, north shore and south side slopes. The bridges were necessary to connect them to work and play.
Entering the city from the south and west, you will mostly like travel through the Fort Pitt Tunnels onto the Fort Pitt Bridge. As you exit the tunnel on to the bridge deck the city views burst forth. The point and fountain below on your left, along with Heinz field, and PNC Park, straight in front the heart of the city and to the left, looking down the Mon where you once saw steel mills and factories, your eye travels to a new and vibrant revitalized urban landscape. Beyond that, you can see the Cathedral of Learning on U of Pitt’s campus.
While the Fort Pitt Bridge is Pittsburgh’s front door from the south, the most iconic of our bridges are the Three Sisters. Built by American Bridge Company in the 1920″s, these three bridge connect the North Shore with downtown Pittsburgh. They are among the few remaining examples of eye-bar chain suspension in the United States and are known for their self-anchoring suspension. Most of us know them now as the Clemente Bridge, named for Pirate star and my favorite player, Roberto Clemente, the Andy Warhol, POP Artist and 60’s icon and the scientist and naturalist Rachel Carson, all beloved Pittsburghers by birth or adoption. They are bridges that you can drive on or walk across and they take you to sporting, dining and cultural events as well as to and from work. They make Pittsburgh a fun and enrgetic city. A city that you can touch, be a part of and one that touches you with its beauty and charm.
Come see Pittsburgh’s and its three sisters!