The summer I spent walking Pittsburgh bridges, I complained about the cages on the Millvale Avenue Bridge, the Highland Park Bridge, and the Graham Street pedestrian bridge. The narrow sidewalk and chain link fences on the first two examples and the chain link cage on the third example made me feel yucky and claustrophobic. Thanks to one of my blog followers, I recently learned that people tend to throw things onto moving objects, which is why bridges like the Millvale bridge have higher fencing along portions over roads and railroads. I still wished there was a cage-free option to meet the same goals of the bridge builders.
In Bethlehem, PA, I found just such an option on the Fahy Bridge. It is a fairly plain concrete bridge saved from the ugliness and gloom of many concrete bridges by using a functional, yet decorative, railing instead of the more common functional, yet ugly, chain link fence. This railing was installed during the 2016-18 renovation of the Fahy Bridge. Recent bridge renovations and replacements in Pittsburgh also feature more decorative railings. While the first of these new bridges in Pittsburgh tried to dress-up a chain link fence cage, the later ones are successful cage-free bridges even when they incorporate chain link fencing.* These examples give me hope that the days of caged bridges may be a thing of the past.
*Note: I have a to-do item to go back and photograph these new bridges for future posts, but no set timeline for the completion of this task.