Established Projects

16th & 31st Street Bridges

Completed 2006

Preserving the views and character of Pittsburgh’s cherished bridges

  • The historic 16th Street Bridge links Pittsburgh’s Strip District neighborhood with Troy Hill.

  • The 31st Street Bridge was built in the late 1920s as an arch bridge connecting Pittsburgh’s Strip District and Troy Hill neighborhoods. By 2006, the bridge had fallen into disrepair.

  • The renovated 31st Street Bridge was reopened by Mayor Luke Ravenstahl on November 21, 2006. L-R: PA State Senator Jim Ferlo; Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato, Mayor Ravenstahl, Riverlife’s Lisa Schroeder; PennDOT Secretary Allen Biehler; and rep. for Sen. Mike Doyle.

  • Historically accurate light fixtures illuminate the restored 31st Street Bridge.

  • During the 16th Street Bridge restoration in 2003, Riverlife advocated for design solutions that maintained the bridge’s stunning views of the Allegheny River and Downtown, while also respecting the structure’s historic character.


Pittsburgh’s historic bridges are an essential part of the city’s identity. Not only are they crucial for transportation and connections between neighborhoods, they also provide a unique perspective from which to view the topography of the area.

During the renovation of two key Pittsburgh bridges, Riverlife sought to develop safety barriers that wouldn’t block those famous views. Working with PennDOT and the Pittsburgh Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, Riverlife helped develop the Pennsylvania Barrier, which features a 9-inch high window between steel rails anchored to a 24-iunch high concrete base.

The Pennsylvania Barrier debuted on the 16th Street Bridge during its 2002 renovation and later on the Ft. Pitt Bridge, gaining the accolades of Pittsburghers relieved the breathtaking bridge views wouldn’t be obscured.  

Similar measures were taken during Riverlife’s partnership in the $27 million restoration of the 31st Street Bridge in 2006. In addition to advocating for view-providing barriers, Riverlife also championed the preservation of historical details such as light fixtures, decorative pedestrian handrails and even the bridge’s famous shade of blue.

Project Partners

City of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation
Allegheny County of Public Works
Baker Engineering
Pfaffman + Associates

Where is it?

16th & 31st Street Bridges
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