Industrial Highway

From Pittsburgh Streets
Industrial Highway
Neighborhood Fairywood
Chartiers Valley Expressway (1962 – late 1970s)

Industrial Highway is a "highway to nowhere": a stretch of four-lane highway, seven-tenths of a mile long, that terminates abruptly at both ends. It is the only piece that was ever built of the Chartiers Valley Expressway, proposed in 1962 to connect Steubenville Pike (Route 60) to Carson Street (Route 51) in Esplen.[1][2] Bids were taken in 1969 and construction was underway by 1970.[3][4][5][6][7][8]

The name Industrial Highway was used as early as 1965 in a notice of redevelopment for the Chartiers Valley Industrial Park. The legal description of the boundary of the redevelopment area twice mentioned "the proposed Industrial Highway."[9] The section of highway that was built was constructed first in order to provide access to a food distribution center in this industrial park.[3][5][6][7] Woodmere Drive and Roswell Drive had been built earlier, in 1966, as the first streets in the industrial park.[10]

City planners were initially optimistic about the future of the highway. In 1970 the city printed its first new official map in ten years; one of its advertised features was that "paper streets"—streets shown only on maps that do not really exist—were shown as broken lines. But in an ironic case of overconfidence, this map showed the whole Chartiers Valley Expressway, which had just begun construction, as a completed thoroughfare.[11]

In 1971 plans were drawn up for an additional 2.4-mile section of the expressway, running from the part then under construction (today's Industrial Highway), along Chartiers Creek, and under the Windgap Bridge to join Route 51 at the intersection of Stanhope Street and Stafford Street.[12] However, in 1974 Governor Milton Shapp, while approving several projects, vetoed many others, including an authorization to issue bonds for the expressway.[13] And the next year the City Planning Director, Robert Paternoster, predicted that the project's $15 million price tag, to carry only an estimated 7200 vehicles per day, would yield too low a benefit–cost ratio to ever get federal money.[14] By the late 1970s, the expressway project had been scrapped, along with state funding; this led to a dispute over who should pay for the replacement of the deteriorating Windgap Bridge, which had been part of the expressway plans.[15][16][17][18][19][20]

The wide, vacant Industrial Highway has attracted drag racers, sometimes as many as 600, to the irritation of nearby residents, local business owners, and police.[21]


  1. William Lawson. "Industrial Highway: 'The Highway to Nowhere.'" The SWPA Roads Project, Aug. 10, 2002. [view source]lawson
  2. "City's street program will cost $13 million: For smoother riding." Pittsburgh Press, Apr. 19, 1962, p. 9. 149003759. [view source]smoother
  3. 3.0 3.1 "State sets bid date for Chartiers road." Pittsburgh Press, Aug. 3, 1969, sec. 1, p. 7. 148201120. [view source]bid-date
  4. "Chartiers road bids due Friday." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Aug. 25, 1969, p. 10. 88532849. [view source]bids-due-friday
  5. 5.0 5.1 "State to open Chartiers bids." Pittsburgh Press, Aug. 25, 1969, p. 3. 148207524. [view source]chartiers-bids
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Chartiers Expressway bids opened: Pittsburgh firm low bidder on part of project." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, June 7, 1969, p. 6. 88517055. [view source]chartiers-expressway
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Expressway bids to be opened: To link Carson St., Thornburg Bridge." Pittsburgh Press, May 25, 1969, sec. 1, p. 17. 148012878. [view source]expressway-bids
  8. "Highway bids opened." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Sept. 1, 1969, p. 21. 88922658. [view source]highway-bids
  9. "Notice of redevelopment, Twenty-Eighth Ward, City of Pittsburgh." Pittsburgh Press, Oct. 4, 1965, p. 41. 149524772. [view source]redevelopment
  10. "Industrial park to get streets: Chartiers project to cost $436,602." Pittsburgh Press, Oct. 8, 1966, p. 3. 149358335. [view source]windmere-roswell
  11. Jerry Sharpe. "Oh, it's only a paper street, say new city map dotted lines." Pittsburgh Press, Jan. 21, 1970, p. 17. 141389963. [view source]new-map
  12. "Chartiers Valley road job OKd." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Feb. 26, 1971, p. 17. 90046766. [view source]road-job-okd
  13. "$24 million area projects OKd by Shapp." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Dec. 31, 1974, p. 1. 88683664. [view source]bond-veto
  14. "Expressway extension in West End doubted: Priority low—Paternoster." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Mar. 13, 1975, p. 3. 89542137. [view source]paternoster
  15. "PUC tells county: begin building Windgap Bridge." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Apr. 14, 1978, p. 8. 88962985. [view source]begin-building-windgap-bridge
  16. "Bridge change turned down." Pittsburgh Press, July 2, 1978, p. A-5. 146928087. [view source]bridge-change
  17. Steven A. Marquez. "City wants Rocks, county to share span repair cost." Pittsburgh Press, July 26, 1978, p. A-3. 146982251. [view source]marquez
  18. Connie Giel. "New Windgap Bridge tagged at $3.1 million." Pittsburgh Press, June 8, 1977, p. B-4. 142725873. [view source]new-windgap-bridge
  19. "Windgap Ave. span replacement OK'd." Pittsburgh Press, Nov. 19, 1979, p. A-5. 147146099. [view source]windgap-ave-span
  20. Edwina Rankin. "Windgap Bridge future still hanging up in the air: Two-lane, four-lane controversy." Pittsburgh Press, Sept. 27, 1978, p. A-29. 146979819. [view source]windgap-bridge-hanging
  21. Johnna A. Pro. "A night at the races: Vacant highway, kids in cars mean police are on the way." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 2, 2000, pp. B-1, B-6. 89870375, 89870389. [view source]drag-racing