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Community members to weigh in on designs to improve access to West End Bridge

Community members to weigh in on designs to improve access to West End Bridge
Community members to weigh in on designs to improve access to West End Bridge 02:36

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Community members can weigh in on plans to improve access to Pittsburgh's West End Bridge. 

The West End Bridge connects Pittsburgh's West End and Chateau neighborhoods. Transformative changes are on the way for the riverfronts under the iconic bridge. 

"We have a vision for world-class river fronts that are essential to the region and belong to everybody, and for too long, the West End bridge has been this obstacle in that experience. We really view this as a part of the room that really sets the edge of the confluence, and our hope is that the neighborhoods that sit adjacent to this infrastructure can benefit from it and that this can be a visitor beacon that really draws people for stay, tourists moments," said Matthew Galluzzo, president and CEO of Riverlife, a nonprofit that's entering its 25th year in 2024.

Galluzzo is excited to talk about the nonprofit's $2 million investment in design and engineering to improve connections to the bridge with new, safe infrastructure and beautifying the areas under the bridge by updating the experience on the riverfronts.

"We're beneficiaries of an investment through the county's trail development fund with leadership from Country Executive Rich Fitzgerald, which is enabling us to work in co-creation with neighborhood stakeholders and others, to design and engineer ramps that will connect we hope to the west end bridge," said Galluzzo.

Riverlife and partners chose El Dorado, an architecture practice, that's working on the ramping designs.

"PennDOT, our partner at the state level, is going to be working to preserve the bridge in the coming years, and our job as Riverlife is really to work in lockstep with their planning efforts to ensure that as they make those investments. We are creating benefits for the community," Galluzzo said. 

This week, people in Pittsburgh are sharing what they want to see in the designs. There was a virtual meeting Monday night, and there is a second meeting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday at Pittsburgh Musical Theater.

Galluzzo envisions parks and artful designs around the West End Bridge's riverfronts, which will turn 100 years old in 2032.

A few years ago, Riverlife did a project called 'Completing the Loop' to look at how to enhance the city's riverfront experience. Galluzzo said the goal is to complete the loop over the next 10 years. 

Galluzzo said the upgrades to the West End Bridge will create a unique experience in the Steel City that could attract people to the area.

"Our big, 'Completing the Loop' plan includes park-like conditions at the river's edge, but also, this represents the largest gap in the trail system in Pittsburgh, so we envision new trail conditions that extend out to the bridge but also create the platform for additional connections," he said.

The in-person meeting on Tuesday night is in person at Pittsburgh Musical Theater. It starts at 6 p.m. People can register here.

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