Hot Metal bike/pedestrian bridge opens

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The Hot Metal Bridge for bikers and pedestrians officially opened today after a traditional ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and County Executive Dan Onorato led participants in the first trip over the Monongahela River on the $10 million, rehabilitated steel bridge that parallels an old industrial twin span that was converted in 2000 into a two-lane bridge for cars and trucks. The Urban Redevelopment Authority has been working on the project since 2003.

The short journey began on the Second Avenue side, near the Pittsburgh Technology Center, and ended at the SouthSide Works. The bridge connects two sections of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail -- the Eliza Furnace segment that runs from Downtown and Oakland, and the South Side segment that extends from Station Square almost to the Glenwood Bridge.

The Hot Metal Bridge that was built for the exclusive use of bikers, runners and walkers is a key link in the Great Allegheny Passage, a 150-mile trail which, when the last short pieces are finished, will connect Pittsburgh to Cumberland, Md. From there, people can take the C&O Canal Towpath to Washington, D.C.

Both Hot Metal bridges were used to shuttle molten iron and materials between former Jones & Laughlin Steel Co. plants on both sides of the rivers. All but a few buildings near Hazelwood have been demolished and the huge sites have become "brownfield sites" being aggressively redeveloped.

More details in tomorrow's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.


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