Charles Anderson Memorial Bridge closes to vehicular traffic


TPN File Photo

The underside of the Charles Anderson Bridge.

By Alexandra Ross, Assistant News Editor

The Charles Anderson Memorial Bridge, which connects Squirrel Hill and Greenfield to Oakland and Downtown, closed Wednesday afternoon to vehicular traffic. 

“I made a pledge to the residents of Pittsburgh that I will not hesitate to close a bridge for the safety of our citizens,” Mayor Ed Gainey said in a press release. “Inspection results have come back that tell us this bridge needs repair work to be safe for traffic.” 

The press release said repairs will begin “as soon as possible” and the Department of Mobility and Infrastructure estimates they will take no fewer than four months. In the meantime, the bridge will remain open to pedestrians and bicycles, as will the Junction Hollow Trail below it. 

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s website lists the bridge as being in poor condition, and records in the National Bridge Inventory show it has received “poor” ratings consistently since October 2012. 

Oakland residents have raised concerns about the bridge for years, especially after the collapse of the Fern Hollow Bridge in Frick Park last January. Kent Harries, a professor of civil engineering at Pitt, told The Pitt News last year the bridge’s poor condition was “concerning,” but not “terribly surprising.” 

“We’ve got an old structure that really hasn’t received the maintenance that it needs,” Harries said. “It is just one of many neglected structures in the City, the county, the state, the country.” 

While a December report found the Charles Anderson Bridge required repairs, it did not indicate a need to close the bridge to traffic — but according to the press release, an “updated structural analysis” this month did. The repairs are estimated to cost between $1 million and $2 million. 

Gainey attributed the bridge’s closure to the city’s increased safety systems after the Fern Hollow collapse. 

“It’s because of the safety systems that we have put in place over the last year that we can act immediately, and proactively, to close this bridge — preventing another Fern Hollow,” Gainey said in the press release.