Rachel Carson Bridge

Rachel Carson Bridge

Rachel Carson Bridge as seen from the roof of the David L. Lawrence Convention Center
Coordinates 40°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
Carries Ninth Street
Official name Rachel Carson Bridge
Other name(s) Ninth Street Bridge
Total length 840 ft (260 m) (995 ft (303 m) with approaches)
Width 62 ft (19 m)
Height 78 ft (24 m)
Longest span 410 ft (120 m)
Clearance below 40.3 ft (12.3 m) above Emsworth Dam normal pool level (710 ft (220 m) above sea level)
Opened November 26, 1926

Rachel Carson Bridge, also known as the Ninth Street Bridge, spans the Allegheny River in Downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 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 now carries two wide vehicle lanes.

Named for the naturalist 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 $19.5 million in 2016 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]

Plaque on North Shore of the Ninth Street Bridge in Pittsburgh, PA.
From south bank of the Allegheny, looking NE, oblique view of roadway and south tower, showing eyebar links for main suspenders and roadway suspenders, as well as main compressive stiffening girders dividing roadway from sidewalks 
Plaque on North Shore of the Rachel Carson Bridge. 

See also


  1. "New Ninth St. Bridge Opens". The Pittsburgh Press. November 26, 1926. Retrieved November 26, 2014.
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