Rating:
16 votes

Ambridge-Aliquippa Bridge

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Overview

Photo taken by James Baughn in July 2009

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Brief History 

Written by Sherman Cahal

The Ambridge-Aliquippa Bridge carries 11th Street over the Ohio River between Ambridge and Aliquippa, Pennsylvania. It was originally referred to as the Ambridge-Woodlawn Bridge.

Initial bridge plans from 1917 centered on four proposals:
A bridge connecting Ambridge and Woodlawn at a cost of $738,000.
A bridge connecting Baden with Aliquippa at a cost of $936,000.
A suspension bridge connecting Ambridge and Woodlawn at a cost of $525,000.
A suspension bridge connecting Baden with Aliquippa at a cost of $665,000.

Due to the onset of World War I, the bridge proposal was tabled. The idea of a bridge between the two boroughs was revived on November 20, 1924 when Beaver County commissioners met with the Army Corps of Engineers to discuss the bridge project. On December 12, Rep. Thomas W. Phillips introduced a bill in Congress to give Beaver County the authority to build the proposed bridge. It was passed by Congress in February 1925 and received approval from the Army Corps of Engineers in September.

A contract for the Woodlawn piers was let to the Dravo Contracting Company of Pittsburgh on February 8, 1926 for $145,400. Dravo completed work on the piers on August 14.

The steel superstructure, with cantilevered Baltimore through trusses, a Warren through truss and two stringer spans, was sourced from the nearby Aliquippa Works for $609,000 and was erected by the American Bridge Company for $337,500. The Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad paid $39,000 for the portion of the bridge over its tracks.

The $570,648 bridge was opened to the public on December 11, 1927 as the Ambridge-Woodlawn Bridge. The total cost of the new crossing was $750,000.

The Ambrose-Aliquippa Bridge underwent a $16.6 million rehabilitation project beginning in December 2011. The project entailed blasting and painting the substructure and superstructure with primer and paint, repairing substructure steel in spans two to six, repairing all gusset plates, the removal and replacement of the bridge deck, new parapets, repairs to pier one and nine and the abutments, and new expansion dams.

Facts 

Overview
Cantilevered through truss bridge over the Ohio River on PA 3052/11th Street in Ambridge
Location
Ambridge, Beaver County, Pennsylvania
Status
Open to traffic
History
Built 1927 by the Dravo Contracting and American Bridge Company.
Builders
- American Bridge Co. of New York
- Dravo Contracting Co. of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Design
Cantilevered through truss
Dimensions
Length of largest span: 529.9 ft.
Total length: 1,995.2 ft.
Deck width: 26.9 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 18.0 ft.
Also called
Ambridge-Woodlawn Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+40.59167, -80.23667   (decimal degrees)
40°35'30" N, 80°14'12" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
17/564592/4493709 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Ambridge
Inventory numbers
PA 04 7402 0000 4001 (Pennsylvania Bridge Management System number)
PANBI 03894 (Pennsylvania BRKEY bridge number on the 2011 NBI)
BH 30350 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection (as of 08/2009)
Deck condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Superstructure condition rating: Serious (3 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Appraisal: Structurally deficient
Sufficiency rating: 2.0 (out of 100)
Average daily traffic (as of 2006)
22,500

Update Log 

  • February 15, 2017: Essay added by Sherman Cahal
  • September 15, 2016: Updated by Christopher Finigan: Added categories "Pin-connected", "Riveted"
  • October 23, 2010: New photos from Jason Smith
  • April 13, 2010: New Street View added by James Baughn
  • July 27, 2009: New photos from James Baughn

Sources 

Comments 

Ambridge-Woodlawn Bridge
Posted March 14, 2012, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Rehab is less expensive...

How many PennDOT officials does it take to turn on a lightbulb!

Ambridge-Woodlawn Bridge
Posted March 14, 2012, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

It was a bit of a rough road getting here. It is sad that it requires a situation like this, but one of the main reasons they are rehabbing is they ended up not having the money to demo and replace the bridge. Rehab is of course less expensive.

Ambridge-Woodlawn Bridge
Posted March 14, 2012, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Another save for Pennsylvania?...WOW!

Ambridge-Woodlawn Bridge
Posted March 13, 2012, by Anonymous

This bridge is closed for rehabilitation. Traffic is being detoured upriver to the congested Sewickley Bridge, about an 11 mile detour.

It is set to reopen at the end of the construction season in November and then close again when work resumes in spring 2013.

http://www.wpxi.com/news/news/local/ambridge-aliquippa-bridg...

Ambridge-Woodlawn Bridge
Posted August 20, 2011, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

This one should be restored as a piece of Ambridge history being as it was built by the company. Not that it really means anything to PennDOT.

Ambridge-Woodlawn Bridge
Posted August 20, 2011, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Not sure why the two star rating - I just gave it 5 to bump it up to where it deserves. This is definitely one of the most unique cantilver bridges in the country and hopefully it will be spared the cutting torch.

Ambridge-Woodlawn Bridge
Posted August 19, 2011, by Andrew Hayes (andrew [dot] hayes [at] bresnan [dot] net)

The borough of Ambridge was named for American Bridge. The "Bridge Plant" as it was known locally, was the "largest structural steel plant in the world" until closed sometime in the 1970s. The facility is now an industrial park.