The marvelous blue-and-beige Smithfield Street Bridge links Downtown Pittsburgh to Pittsburgh’s South Side across the Monongahela River. The Great Allegheny Passage skirts underneath and provides great views of the former Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad’s headquarters, now known as Station Square. The 1,184-foot over-and-under lenticular truss bridge, with its architectural lighting and six copper finials, is a local icon, and is designated a National Historic Civic Engineering Landmark and a National Historic Landmark.
Built in 1883 based on the specifications of engineer Gustav Lindenthal, the Smithfield Street Bridge replaced a wire suspension bridge designed by Brooklyn Bridge master John Roebling, which itself superseded a wooden bridge destroyed by fire decades earlier. It is Downtown Pittsburgh’s oldest remaining bridge, and one of the first in the country to use structural steel in its construction. Widened twice over the next 30 years to accommodate streetcars and then vehicular traffic, the structure became the city’s most heavily-used bridge for decades.
The bridge is open for traffic 24/7, and those wishing to walk or bicycle across it can best access it by making a quick side trip off the Great Allegheny Passage onto Smithfield Street.