From Pittsburgh Streets
Traffic Improvement Plan to Cost $37,500,000, Council Told
Preliminary Estimate Virtually Final, Experts Say.

A rough estimate of $37,500,000 is placed as the cost of developing the inter-district traffic circuits and attendant improvements proposed by the citizens' committee on city plan, in a report submitted to council yesterday by the city planning commission which has conducted a study of the original study, embracing as it does wide range of the major street plan.

While the report was submitted as one of preliminary character, its authors stated that it was to be regarded as final except as to estimates of cost which only can be placed outside the tentative range when work is undertaken and existing realty values and labor conditions are more definitely determined.


The plans considered by the commission affect many street widenings and other major improvements which have been advocated in various form over the years, but tangibly developed by the more recent plan of the committee. The traffic circuit, which is an elaborate thoroughfare layout affecting the downtown, Northside and Southside, and co-ordinates present extensive developments, such as the Liberty bridge, was presented to council some months ago in large pictorial form by the citizens' committee. The large picture was placed in the lobby of the City–County building and council appropriated a fund for an analysis of the detail involved.

The plan is given the indorsement of the city planning comission [sic], which then enters into detail, grouping the various improvements as to cost, and recomending progressive construction through bond funds and an enlargement of the benefit assessment system. The inter-district traffic circuit is pointed out as a vital need by the report, as its benefits will be extended to all sections of the city.


The reports presents the group form as a means of carrying out improvements closely related and each group is designed to be a logical part of a continuous financial program.

The city's 1919 bond issue of $22,000,000 and that of the county in 1924 making an aggregate of $50,000,000 are referred to as representing authorized expenditure comparative with the proposals under the plan considered. The whole plan is closely meshed with the general plan of the county road system.

One of the features of the inter-district plan is a bridge terminating at the Bigelow boulevard and a point in the Northside in practical alignment with Eleventh street.


It would be continuance of the northerly course of the Liberty tubes and bridge, a cross-town viaduct connecting the proposed and the Liberty bridge. This connection would be a valuable addition to the county road system connecting the north and south systems which at present are gapped by the city. On this account the commission has the thought that the county would finance the bridge and viaduct.

Among the projects advocated are a traffic circle at the Point, widening of Duquesne way, Water street, Grant street, Liberty avenue, Fifth avenue, Forbes street, Allegheny avenue, North avenue, Chestnut street and Carson street, a connection between Irwin and North avenues and Brighton road, a complete new Baltimore & Ohio railroad, an underpass to carry westbound Carson street traffic under the south end of the new Point bridge and elevated roadway above Carson street between the Wabash railroad bridge and Brownsville avenue is suggested.

This list of improvements entail a mass of interlocking improvements, for instance the Water and Duquesne way widenings involve a quay or wharf wall enclosing the triangle from Smithfield street to Tenth street on the Allegheny river, an item estimated to cost $5,500,000. The widening of the two streets is estimated to cost $653,000.


While the report is one of many pages and includes a vast amount of technical detail, the commission makes no representation that the study is complete as it urges a continuance in the following excerpt:

"It is recommended that the present study be continued. This is desirable and important so that there may be opportunity for public utility companies and others to confer with the city planning commission and other city departments with reference to adjustment of their facilities and properties to those public facilities which are embraced in the inter-district traffic circuit plans.

"In the meantime, the city planning commission is prepared to recommend the gradual execution of the whole inter-district traffic circuit project.

"Financial conditions and factors having to do with the organization and execution of construction programs both indicate that the entire project will have to be undertaken by stages and progressively pursued until the completion of the whole. Expenditures for future public improvements being cumulative in any case, the planning commission has recognized this fact, and, as noted in Section One, has subdivided the entire project into various construction sections or stages. These stages are adapted to progressive initiation and their estimated costs appear to be reasonably well-adjusted to the practicability of a continuing financial program."


The commission adds there is nothing in the recommendation for progressive development of the traffic circuit to interfere with other improvements for which there may be urgent public demand as the progressive order can be interrupted.

The commission emphasizes the need of keeping traffic flowing and outlines proposed intersection enlargements and traffic circles. At the junction of the Point and Manchester bridge ramps a circle 220 feet in diameter is proposed. The development of the wharves entail new harbor lines, double roadways on Water street and a roadway on Duquesne way. The proposed connection with the Northside would entail another bridge across the Allegheny river with terminal at Ohio street. All the railroads are involved by the plans which recognize traffic demands as paramount.

Other than receive the report council took no action on it.


The detail of the grouping in the report is as follows


Widening and improvement of Water street, Duquesne way and Tenth street, estimated cost, $653,000; quay or wharf walls, around Monongahela and Allegheny wharves of the triangle district, from Smithfield street to a point east of Tenth street, $5,500,000.


Traffic circle at the point, together with revision of Water street ramp approach and a new ramp approach in Duquesne way, including property damages involved in raising adjacent streets to wharf wall, estimated cost $2,100,000; underpass at junction of new Point bridge and West Carson street, estimated cost, $465,000.


Bigelow boulevard, from Gazette Square to Pennsylvania station, near Washington street, estimated cost of physical work, $600,000, no estimate of property damage; cross-town viaduct from north approach of Liberty bridge to Bigelow boulevard at Seventh avenue, no estimate; Forbes street, between Ross and Stevenson streets, $1,190,000.


Eleventh street bridge, approaches and thoroughfares from Bigelow boulevard at Washington street to North avenue, via East street route, $2,650,000 (if Madison avenue route is used this estimate should be reduced by $70,000, but should then be increased by the following item) extension of same improvement to junction of East street and Madison avenue at an additional cost of $220,000.


North avenue, extension into Fayette street and portion between Madison avenue and Chestnut street, and Chestnut street between East Ohio street and Iten [sic] street, $1,140,000.


West End Ohio river bridge, including approaches and traffic circle at each end, $3,420,000; South Main street, from underpass at Panhandle railroad to Neptune street, $365,000; construction of a new street (including in part Neptune and Independence streets), from South Main street to Wabash avenue, near McCartney street, with traffic circle, $1,090,000; thoroughfares of circulation route through Saw Mill Run valley, from McCartney street traffic circle to Library road (now in progress), $895,000.


Fernando street, improvement and extension, between Fifth and Seventh avenues, $1,870,000; viaduct thoroughfare from foregoing, over Fifth avenue to Forbes street at the portal of South Tenth street bridge tunnel, $560,000.


Ross street, Fifth avenue to Gazette square; Sixth avenue extension from Grant street to new portion of Ross street, and elimination of existing Sixth and Webster avenues, between the same streets; Oliver avenue extension from Grant street to new portion of Ross street and elimination of Wylie avenue between Sixth and Fifth avenues; estimates of these projects deferred.


Grant street, between Water street and Seventh avenue, $2,750,000; Grant street and Liberty avenue, intersection, with traffic circle and new connections from thoroughfares to Penn avenue; no estimate given.


North and Irwin avenue intersection, deck bridge over Pennsylvania railroad, additional appropriation required in excess of available bond fund, $95,000; Irwin avenue, between North and Pennsylvania avenues, $325,000; Pennsylvania avenue, between Irwin avenue and Marquis street projected, $260,000; building of new street, including in part, Marquis street, between Pennsylvania avenue and Brighton road, at Kirkbride street, $620,000.


Allegheny avenue, from Ridge avenue to Columbus avenue, ramp and bridges over Pennsylvania Railroad and extension of California avenue to Columbus avenue, $1,635,000.


Liberty avenue, from a point east of Sixteenth street to Thirty-third street, $1,250,000.


Fifth avenue, between Ross and Stevenson street, $1,665,000.


North avenue, between Madison and Allegheny avenue, $1,100,000.


West Carson street and East Carson street, from Point bridge underpass to Brownsville avenue, $1,720,000; East Carson street, from Brownsville avenue to South Seventeenth street, $2,190,000; East Carson street, from South Twenty-seventh street to the city line, no estimate given.


East Ohio street, from Cedar avenue to Heinz street, no estimate.


Northside industrial thoroughfare, involving widening and improvement of River avenue, Heinz street, Progress street, Lacock street, Reedsdale street, Beaver avenue, Island avenue and Preble avenue, no estimate given.

The report is signed by Morris Knowles, chairman; Frederick Bigger, secretary, and U. N. Arthurs, chief engineer.