Which U.S. city is nicknamed the “City of Bridges”?
Thanks to three major rivers, the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio, plus their tributaries, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania boasts 446 bridges, thus earning its nickname, the City of Bridges.
When the first European settlers arrived in the 1700s, they encountered rugged terrain: deep valleys, creeks, and rivers. It was necessary to cross streams and climb steep hillsides just to travel around the region. To overcome these challenges, the settlers needed bridges to connect their newly-constructed roadways and span the rivers and valleys.
Surprisingly however, it wasn’t until 1818, after years of riding through shallow rivers or walking through the hills to find a dry crossing, that the residents finally constructed the first bridge. That first wooden structure, known as the Monongahela Bridge, was replaced with a wire rope suspension bridge after it was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1845. Eventually, due to the increasing weight of heavy traffic, the second bridge was also replaced, for safety reasons. In its place today stands the modern Smithfield Street Bridge, the oldest steel bridge in the United States.
In 1924, the city began an ambitious campaign to build more bridges in Pittsburgh. Some of the city’s better-known bridges today include the Liberty Bridge, the Hot Metal Bridge, and the famous Panhandle Bridge.
As of 2017, Pittsburgh had 446 bridges - three more than Venice, Italy.