Friday, January 14, 2022

1931,1983 US-30 George Westinghouse Bridge over Turtle Creek at East Pittsburgh, PA

(Bridge Hunter; Historic Bridges; no B&T; HAER; pghbridgesSatellite)

J.R. Manning in BridgeHunter describes the old US-30 route across the valley. It used to take about 40 minutes to cross the valley instead of just a few minutes after this bridge was built.

Boston Public Library Flickr via BridgeHunter, License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY)

 Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania Photo via FreightWaves
"On January 8, 1886 Westinghouse founded the Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company in Pittsburgh. The company developed electric infrastructure throughout the nation. The company’s factories manufactured turbines, generators, motors and switch gear for the generation, transmission and use of electricity."

"The George Washington Memorial Bridge spans Turtle Creek between East Pittsburgh and North Versailles Township. The 460-foot center span of the bridge was the nation’s longest for a concrete arch at the time. The total length (including the longest elevated ramp) includes five spans totaling 1,598 feet. The bridge, designed by George S. Richardson, was built by the County of Allegheny in 1932 to carry the Lincoln Highway US 30. The bridge was a $1.75 million part of a $4.4 million Lincoln Highway re-routing project. Four pylons at the entrances have 10 foot by 18-foot art deco granite reliefs by Frank Vittor. With a relief of up to eight inches, the chiseled scenes depict the development of the Turtle Creek Valley including the defeat of the British General Braddock by the French and Indians in 1755. An $11.3 million in renovation in 1982-83 included a modified deck with a wider roadway and Jersey barriers. The bridge was reopened in October 1983. Below the bridge stands a former site of the now-dissolved Westinghouse Electric Corporation."

Street View
Upstream Elevation:
Street View
Downstream Elevation:
Street View

"This bridge was claimed to be the longest concrete arch bridge in the world when completed. Such a claim would have to exclude railroad bridges, since the older Tunkhannock Viaduct far exceeds the length of this bridge. Regardless, the bridge was and remains among the longest concrete arch bridges in the United States. However, the Westinghouse Bridge's largest central span [460'] does appear to have been the longest concrete arch span in the world when completed." It is about 200' above the valley floor. [HistoricBridges] See HistoricBridges for photos of the four sculptures on the four pylons.

HAER PA,2-EAPIT,1--11 (CT)
3/4 VIEW FROM WEST. - George Westinghouse Bridge, Spanning Turtle Creek at Lincoln Highway (U.S. Route 30), East Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, PA

The HAER document quotes the Engineering News-Record concerning the construction of the arches: "Steel-truss centering was used in all of the arch spans, so fabricated that it could be made to conform to the intrados of arches of different span lengths and so planned that the two arches at either end of the bridge would be first completed and then all of the centering assembled to support the 460-ft. span." [pghbridges]

The Westinghouse Plant back in its heyday.
1933 Photo from U of Michigan Lincoln Highway Collection via BridgeHunter

The Edgar Thomson Works is on the downstream side along the Monongahela River.
Street View

This was the post that motivated the research of this bridge. Given the highway cut in the background, the southwestern tip of the Westinghouse plant is in the foreground and Edgar Thomson is out-of-frame to the right.
Joe Reed posted
Painting by Pittsburgher John Kane. He created this image of the Westinghouse Bridge in 1932. The Edgar Thomson Works was on the far side of the bridge. On the near side was the Westinghouse Electric East Pittsburgh plant which at one time employed 20,000 workers

3D Satellite

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