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James Callow Folklore Archive

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THE BRIDGE TO NOWHERE

LATE IN THE 1950'S, CONSTRUCTION BEGAN ON A BRIDGE ACROSS THE
ALLEGHANY RIVER LINKING DOWNTOWN PITTSBURGH WITH THE CITY'S
NORTHSIDE. THE BRIDGE WAS BUILT AT GREAT EXPENSE, OR IT SHOULD
BE SAID THAT IT WAS ALMOST BUILT. ABOUT TWO YEARS AFTER CONSTRUC-
TION BEGAN, IT ENDED, SOME 40 FEET SHORT OF THE OPPOSITE BANK.
NOT ONLY WASN'T THERE ANY ROAD ON THE OTHER SIDE TO CONNECT THE
BRIDGE TO, BUT RIGHTS-OF-WAY HAD NOT YET EVEN BEEN PURCHASED.
THE BRIDGE REMAINED UNCOMPLETED FOR 14 YEARS, AND QUICKLY ASSUMED
THE NAME OF THE "BRIDGE TO NOWHERE." THE BRIDGE BECAME A SYMBOL
FOR INEFFICIENCY IN GOVERNMENT AND THE TARGET FOR NUMEROUS JOKES.
MANY STORIES ARE TOLD ABOUT PEOPLE DRIVING OFF THE END OF IT
(SOME ACTUALLY DOCUMENTED). THE BRIDGE WAS FINALLY COMPLETED IN
1970 AND OFFICIALLY NAMED THE FORT DUQUESNE BRIDGE, BUT PITTSBURGH
RESIDENTS CONTINUE TO REFER TO IT AS THE BRIDGE TO NOWHERE.

Where learned: PENNSYLVANIA ; PITTSBURGH

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Explanation of a name
ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Plan, design, color, building material, and technic
ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Bridge

Date learned: 10-02-1971

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