A nighttime rendering showing the new lights for the three Sister Bridges. Photo courtesy of Riverlife.

The Sister Bridges, an iconic symbol of Pittsburgh’s history, have long captured the imagination of locals and visitors alike and serve as vital transportation links between Downtown and the North Side.

Now the nonprofit organization Riverlife has unveiled The Sister Bridges Experience to revitalize Pittsburgh’s riverfronts and establish a unified and interconnected destination.

The $15 million initiative aims to connect the Cultural District, the Pop District of the Andy Warhol Museum, and various attractions on the North Side with Downtown. 

The Richard King Mellon Foundation contributed $2 million to the project and Riverlife secured a state grant for over $1 million for the restoration of Allegheny Riverfront Park.

As part of Riverlife’s comprehensive Completing the Loop plan, the project strives to enhance and expand Pittsburgh’s 15-mile, 1,055-acre network of riverfront parks, trails and public spaces. In 2021, Riverlife and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust partnered to restore Allegheny Riverfront Park, which cost more than $6 million.

“The Sister Bridges Experience seeks to transform two beloved but separate spaces into a renowned destination that functions like no other open space in Pittsburgh — connecting Pittsburghers and visitors to a curated cultural experience to be enjoyed by generations to come,” says Matthew Galluzzo, president & CEO of Riverlife. “We have examined Allegheny Landing, Allegheny Riverfront Park and their surrounding assets. We envision a repositioning that honors the history of these spaces and introduces elements that will meet the expectations, needs and preferences of a 21st-century city.”

Riverlife has appointed dwg., an Austin-based firm, to lead community meetings and develop a new design for Allegheny Landing on the North Shore. 

In addition, the project seeks to install new lighting on the three bridges, drawing inspiration from the positive reception of the temporary art installation known as Energy Flow. That collaborative effort involving Riverlife, the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, the city’s Office of Public Art, and Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation was installed on the Rachel Carson Bridge in 2016.

“Riverlife’s vision continues the exciting transformation of Pittsburgh’s riverfronts,” says County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “The restoration and activation of these spaces will amplify county investments and highlight the profound beauty and history of our beloved Sister Bridges.

Jason Phox is a journalist in the Pittsburgh area sharing important information with the people of the Steel City. He enjoys writing, photography, and mostly comic books.