Weathering Steel Pedestrian Bridge Provides Beautiful Connection for People and Park Area

When completed, the 47-mile Montour Trail will link with the Great Allegheny Passage, a 150-mile trail network that extends from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Cumberland, Maryland, where it connects to the C&O Canal Towpath to Washington, DC. 

Situated adjacent to the Montour Trail is the southern border of the town of South Park, Pennsylvania, but trail users had no way to access the recreational facilities and special events held there. To provide this much-needed connection, the Allegheny County Parks Foundation, in partnership with Allegheny County, initiated a project to construct a two-mile trail through Sleepy Hollow to link the Montour Trail with South Park. One of the challenges provided by the project was the need for a pedestrian bridge over one of the area’s streams. 

Steel Solution

The Allegheny County Parks Foundation needed a pedestrian bridge that would preserve the beauty of the idyllic setting while being cost-effective with limited funding. The original bridge design specified a box culvert. However, this decision was changed in favor of a weathering steel bridge in order to blend the bridge with its surroundings. The steel short span bridge also provided a substantial cost savings of 50 percent to the owner. 

Big R Bridge, a member of the Short Span Steel Bridge Alliance, delivered the new 32-foot span South Park Montour Connector Trail Bridge by flatbed truck, and the contractor hoisted it by crane into place within a few hours on April 18, 2013. The bridge was designed using the AASHTO LRFD Guide Specification, with a live load of 90 psf and a vehicle load of H10. 

“When decisions were being made regarding the South Park Montour Connector Trail Pedestrian Bridge, it was suggested to us by John Surma, the former chairman of the Parks Foundation as well as CEO and chairman of the board of United States Steel Corporation, that we consider a short span steel bridge,” said Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “The ease and efficiency of planning and installation of the bridge, and the public’s immediate embrace of it in the park, only reinforced our decision to use short span steel. We’re thrilled with the result and will certainly keep this experience in mind when looking at other projects in the County.”

For Montour Trail users and the residents of South Park, steel provided an aesthetically pleasing and cost-effective link to bring both together. 

Bridge Facts

Location: South Park, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania

Owner: Allegheny County

Type of Bridge: Pedestrian weathering steel with concrete deck

Length/Width: 32-feet long by 10-feet wide

Model: Truss - Underhung

Contractor: Charles J. Merlo, Inc.
 
Fabricator: Big R Bridge - Rick Sauer

About the Short Span Steel Bridge Alliance

The Short Span Steel Bridge Alliance (SSSBA) is the industry resource for information related to short span steel bridges in North America. The SSSBA's objective is to provide essential information to bridge owners and designers on the unique benefits, innovative designs, cost-competitiveness and performance related to using steel in short span installations up to 140 feet in length. SSSBA partners include bridge and culvert industry leaders, including manufacturers, fabricators and representatives of related associations and government organizations. To learn more, visit www.shortspansteelbridges.org or email sssba@steel.org.