107-year-old bridge demolished in Pittsburgh

A large crowd gathered in Pittsburgh on Tuesday morning to say goodbye to an old friend. The 108-year-old Hulton Bridge, which spanned the Allegheny River just northeast of Pittsburgh, was demolished as part of the final stage of a massive, two-year long construction project undertaken to replace it.

To prepare for the demolition, construction crews cleared a 1,000 foot safety area around the bridge and closed Route 28, which crosses the new Hulton Bridge built adjacent to the old one. Using 51 demolition charges equaling 150 pounds of dynamite, engineers imploded the bridge ahead of schedule at 9:49 a.m. When asked why the detonation happened earlier than its scheduled time of 10:00 a.m., a PennDOT spokesman told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "When everything is ready, there's no reason to wait." Once the demolition was complete, the new bridge was inspected for damage, and was reopened to traffic within the hour.

It took just a few seconds for the charges to split the bridge into four sections, which then fell into the river where they will be cut up and hauled away by Brayman Construction Corporation, the contracting firm responsible for both the new bridge's construction and the old bridge's demolition. Contractors have 72 hours to clear a 300 foot navigation channel in the wreckage, which will then be dismantled with the help of barges and cranes.

Built in 1908, the 1,544 foot Parker-Pratt-style truss bridge was the first bridge designed and built by Allegheny County. It was named for Jonathon Hulton, a local landowner whose family operated a ferry crossing at the site until the bridge was built. Over the years, the bridge carried more than 22,000 cars daily between the towns of Oakmont and Harmar. In 1991, the bridge gained notoriety when it was painted a bright lavender color, and remained one of the only bridges in Pennsylvania painted that color until its demolition.

Share This Photo X