Heth’s Run (Butler Street) Bridge Replacement, Pittsburgh, PA

Heth's Run Bridge

Buchart Horn provided preliminary engineering and final design services for the replacement of the bridge carrying Butler Street (SR 0008) over Heth’s Run in Pittsburgh. The replacement of historic Heth’s Run Bridge presented a significant challenge in terms of the bridge design and public perception. Originally a grand structure, the existing concrete, open-spandrel, arch bridge marked the northern entrance to Highland Park and the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium and carried Butler Street over an open waterway. Since its original construction in 1914, the structure and the landscape evolved significantly. Many of the original architectural and ornamental features were no longer evident, and the structure deteriorated so much it required replacement. The bridge became a poster child for the state of infrastructure in America and was featured on an NBC Nightly News story concerning the poor state of the country’s bridges.

Many stakeholders, including PennDOT, the City of Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, and adjacent neighborhood communities came together to provide input during the design process and help to develop a  replacement concept to serve the current and future needs of the community in a sustainable and fiscally responsible manner.

The new bridge is a composite steel plate girder structure with a single span of 215 feet. It incorporates many of the historical and aesthetic features of the existing structure, such as large decorative urns, balusters for the pedestrian railing, quoins on the abutments, decorative light standards, and haunched steel girders painted the color of concrete. Signals at both ends of the bridge were replaced and new ADA ramps were installed.