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City's Golden Spans Eye a New Color

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

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PITTSBURGH--They won't be purple, like their Louisiana counterpart, but the three Sister Bridges of Pittsburgh may be leaving their traditional Aztec Gold behind.

Then again, maybe not.

The City of Bridges (446 of them, according to a 2006 study) is rehabilitating the Andy Warhol Bridge, the Rachel Carson Bridge and the Roberto Clemente Bridge over the Allegheny River.

phillq23 / CC BY-SA 3.0

Indisputably the City of Bridges, Pittsburgh is also fond of Aztec Gold ("Pittsburgh Yellow") bridge coatings. Steel City residents love them, too, a new poll shows.

The work will include repainting each bridge, and that gives Pittsburghers a chance to either embrace or eschew coatings history.

Pittsburgh Yellow

The bridges have been Pittsburgh Yellow (officially, Aztec Gold) since they opened in the 1920s as the Sixth Street, Seventh Street and Ninth Street Bridges.

Now, Allegheny County, which owns the bridges, is asking the public to weigh in on new paint colors for the Sisters. But the choice is not open-ended.

David Trainer / CC BY-SA 2.0

A proposal to find a new color for Roberto Clemente bridge and its sisters is not going over so well.

In a poll posted on the Allegheny County website, officials offer these choices:

  • The Sister Bridges should remain Pittsburgh yellow.
  • The Warhol Bridge should be painted silver (gray), and the Carson Bridge should be painted green.
  • I don't care if the bridges stay Pittsburgh yellow, but they should all be the same color.
  • Why are you limiting us to just three colors?

Prohibiting Purple

The last question isn't answered, and the accompanying photos show only a rendering of the Warhol bridge in the suggested silver (gray).

As to the limited color choices, that may well be intentional.

Facebook / Pick the Paint

One color option not offered in Pittsburgh was purple, the color chosen last year in Louisiana's "Pick the Paint" contest for the Jimmie Davis Bridge.

Last year, officials in Louisiana hosted a pick-the-paint contest for the Jimmie Davis Bridge in Shreveport and offered eight choices.

The winner? Purple. Deep, deep purple.

Now, the purple project is underway.

Keeping it Real

Such exotic aesthetics do not appear to be in Pittsburgh's future.

Allegheny County

As of Tuesday (June 30), the future color of Pittsburgh's Sister Bridges seemed in little doubt.

The town that bleeds black and gold would apparently like its bridges to do no less.

As of Tuesday afternoon (June 30), with nearly 12,000 votes cast, Pittsburgh Yellow was the runaway favorite.


Tagged categories: Bridges; Color; Historic Structures; North America; Program/Project Management; Protective Coatings

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