The bridge which carries California Ave over McClure Avenue and Eckert Street, also known as the Robert McAfee Bridge, connects the neighborhoods of Brighton Heights and Marshall Shadeland in the City of Pittsburgh. This is a critical link on California Avenue, a roadway which connects the North Hills to the North Shore and Downtown. The bridge is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) under Criterion C due to its main span, steel deck arch with two built-up arch ribs and Pratt trussing to carry the deck, design. The bridge was built in 1928 and was rehabilitated in 1982; which included a new deck, steel repairs, new approach spans, and painting.
The bridge is on a 2 year routine inspection frequency which is in compliance with Federal and State guidelines. The overall condition rating of the bridge is Fair. "Fair" is defined as meaning the primary structural elements are sound, but showing minor signs of deterioration. The Bridge receives interim inspections of specific areas every 6 months, between the 2 year cycle, to monitor the deck joints and bridge sidewalks which are in poor condition.
Due to public concern and the accumulation of debris under the bridge a special inspection was conducted January 4, 2023. The inspection found that the primary structural elements were still sound. The City proceeded with design, acquisition and instillation of protection materials/methods to contain deteriorating nonstructural steel formwork from along the underside of the sidewalks from falling on the sidewalk, roadway and accessible areas under the main span of the bridge until a rehabilitation project can occur.
Rehabilitation Project Background
The City of Pittsburgh, in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), is advancing the California Ave rehabilitation project. The project is currently in the start-up phase.
The project begins with analysis and design to determine what various bridge enhancements are needed. In addition, care is given to reduce pain-points for those who use the bridge, i.e. how to minimize detours. This project aims to modernize the California Ave bridge with an emphasis on safety for all users of the bridge. While engineering will take several years, we aim to provide updates on the progress, as well as what you can expect during construction, and what to look forward to when it's completed. Opportunities for public comment on the proposed plans will occur during engineering design. Comments and feedback about this structure can be submitted at the bottom right of this page.