Engineering Pittsburgh: Bridges

February 9, 2021
Speaker: Todd Wilson, P.E.

Have you ever thought about how the Pittsburgh area became the City of Bridges? If you were starting over, would you build the city’s bridges where they are now? And what types would you build? Located at the confluence of three rivers instead of along the coast and being one of America’s earliest frontier cities west of the Appalachian Mountains, bridge engineering in the greater Pittsburgh area experienced a lot of unprecedented engineering challenges. This resulted in many advances in bridge engineering and the development of unique engineering solutions. Join local engineer and historian Todd Wilson to tell the story of how bridge engineering developed in western Pennsylvania through highlighting the various innovative structures that were built.

In 2018, the American Society of Civil Engineers Pittsburgh Section celebrated its 100th Anniversary by releasing the book, Engineering Pittsburgh: A History of Roads, Rails, Canals, Bridges & More. Todd was one of two Squirrel Hill residents on a three-person committee that oversaw putting the multi-author book together. This presentation will be based on the bridge chapter he wrote.

About the Speaker: Todd Wilson is an award-winning transportation engineer in Pittsburgh and a noted researcher on bridges. He has photographed bridges in all 50 states and in more than 25 countries and has presented at conferences in five states. He is a past presenter at the Squirrel Hill Historical Society and is a Squirrel Hill resident. Wilson holds engineering degrees from Carnegie Mellon University and an MBA from Point Park’s Rowland School of Business. He serves as a trustee of Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation and as History & Heritage Chair for the Pittsburgh Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Publications include coauthoring Images of America: Pittsburgh’s Bridges and Engineering Pittsburgh: A History of Roads, Rails, Canals, Bridges & More.

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