The Urban Redevelopment Authority
began construction this week on the
$1.5 million pedestrian bridge that will connect Shadyside and East
Liberty at the intersection of Ellsworth Avenue and Spahr Street.
Executive Director Rob Stephany says it is one of the first
artist-designed pedestrian bridges in the state and will offer a more
connection between the neighborhoods. With Negley and Highland Avenues
the only connectors the public was forced to take longer
routes. "It's a
really thoughtful way to connect economic systems, as well as
neighborhoods," he says.
Scheduled to open December 27, the bridge will be bike and
pedestrian friendly. The URA is working with SAI Consulting Engineers
and Frank J. Zottola Construction Inc. on building the bridge. Pittsburgh-born artist Sheila
designed the bridge, with assistance from Heinz Endowments
, while the Office of Public Art
worked with the
communities to negotiate infrastructure. PennDOT
is the lead funder for the project. Once constructed, the bridge will be dedicated to the City of Pittsburgh.
explains the bridge will feature a number of artistic touches such as restored historic
handrails and medallions from the Pittsburgh Glass Center
. By connecting the shops on Center and Ellsworth Avenues, the bridge will create an intimate bond between the two, he adds.
In addition, Stephany says the URA
seeks to make the biggest off-site impact it can. "It's a game-changer
from a system standpoint," he says. It will
change the way shoppers shop by giving them more options that are easily
During construction, Ellsworth Avenue between
Spahr St. and Lamont Place will be closed to traffic in both directions.
It will be open to local and business traffic only from Maryland Avenue
to Spahr Street and to local traffic only from Shady Avenue to Lamont
Spahr Street will be open to local and business traffic
only from Alder Street to Ellsworth Avenue, and traffic northbound on
Spahr Street will only be able to make a left hand turn onto Ellsworth
to receive Pop City each week.
Writer: Alex Audia
Source: Rob Stephany, URA
Image courtesy of the URA