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Student designers re-imagine Pennsylvania bridge as a bike path

on Wednesday,December 09,2009 22:12

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The Hulton Bridge that crosses the Allegheny river near Pittsburgh is in danger of being torn down when a replacement is built just a short distance upstream. In an effort to preserve the 101-year-old local landmark, a group of engineering students at the nearby Carnegie Mellon University have proposed a bold re-working of the bridge as a scenic bike path.

As a part of a senior-class project, a group of civil engineering undergrads proposed converting the through-truss structure to a throughway for foot and bike traffic to coincide with the Allegheny River Trail being constructed on the Northern shore of the river.

Students estimate that the proposed renovation would only cost around $279,000 for barriers to discourage automotive traffic and hand railings to ensure the safety of pedestrian travelers.

"The main reason we looked into it is that it is the only active Pennsylvania truss bridge over the Allegheny River, and it was one of the first of its type," Gabriella Briffa, one of the students involved in the redesign, tells the Tribune Review.

Designs are being finalized for a new, four-lane bridge set to replace the century-old structure, which is too narrow to adequately support the 20,000 vehicles who cross its timbres daily.

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