Interstate 579 Pennsylvania
Interstate 579 is Crosstown Boulevard in Pittsburgh, an urban freeway spur from Interstate 279 on the North Shore to Downtown and the Golden Triangle. The highway crosses the Allegheny River along the Veterans Memorial Bridge to the north and ends at the approach to the Liberty Bridge above the Monongahela River to the south. The route concludes just shy of Interstate 376 & U.S. 22-30 (Penn Lincoln Parkway East).
I-579 Cap Urban Connector Project
Interstate 579 separates the Pittsburgh central business district to the west with the historic Hill District to the east. A 28 month long construction project will reunite the two areas with a new deck spanning Crosstown Boulevard. The $26.4-million project received a $19 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant from the federal government in July 2016. The deck will span I-579 at the site of the former Civic Arena and consist of a tree-lined promenade and gardens. Developed by the Pittsburgh-Allegheny County Sports & Exhibition Authority, the adjacent 28-acre site is slated for offices, retail and 1,200 housing units.6
Final design work for the project was completed and bidding for construction of Cap Connection Park was underway in March 2019. Construction on the I-579 Cap Urban Connector Project is expected to start in Summer 2019.8
The connection with Interstate 376 is not a full interchange, and thus the route is an odd-digit spur as opposed to an even-digit loop. The urban freeway was originally planned as a complete loop and designated as Interstate 479, as current I-279 along Parkway North represented the planned I-79 mainline at that time. Interstate 479 was renumbered as Interstate 876, when I-279 and 79 traded places as approved by AASHTO on June 30, 1970. The designation changed again in 1971 to I-579, as the freeway would not directly connect with newly designated Interstate 376 along Penn Lincoln Parkway east.
Interstate 579 was built in stages, with the Crosstown Boulevard portion, between the Boulevard of the Allies (PA 885) and Centre Avenue opened in 1962, and from Centre Avenue to Bigelow Boulevard (PA 380) completed in 1964.1,2 Construction on the Veterans Bridge commenced in 1984 at a cost of around $16 million. The bridge was incorporated into the overall $400 million project for the North Shore Expressway / Interstate 279, with the Veterans Bridge opened initially in 1988 and fully in fall 1989 with the completion of the I-279 connectors.3
The Veterans Memorial Bridge is a steel girder bridge. It accommodates seven overall lanes and is 1050 feet long. The span provides three continuous lanes for I-579 south, two lanes with an auxiliary lane for I-579 north, and a reversible HOV lane between the two roadways. The I-579 HOV lanes extend southward from the carpool lanes on I-279 to Bedford and 7th Avenues at Downtown
The Liberty Bridge is not a part of Interstate 579. The bridge, which was built in 1926-1928, predates Crosstown Boulevard and is designated as Pennsylvania 3069 (unsigned).4 It is a steel cantilever bridge carrying four lanes over the Monongahela River with the center lanes reversible. A traffic signal at McArdle Roadway is the only break in continuous flow between the Liberty Bridge and the Liberty Tunnels. The tunnels were built in 1924 by Allegheny County and at 5,889 feet each in length, are the longest tunnels in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area.5
North End – Pittsburgh, PA
South End – Pittsburgh, PA
Mileage – 2.73
Cities – Pittsburgh
- Junctions –
Source: December 31, 2017 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
I-579 Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT)
|Location||Vehicles per day|
Source: 2017 PennDOT Traffic Volume Maps
An interchange was planned for the south end of Crosstown Boulevard and Penn Lincoln Parkway East in 1950.2 It was never built.
Interstate 876 was redesignated as Interstate 579 as approved by AASHTO on December 3, 1971. The actions for I-579 were coupled with the renumbering of Penn Lincoln Parkway East to Interstate 376 and the renumbering of Interstate 80S as the new I-76 mainline from northwest of Pittsburgh to near Seville, Ohio.
Original plans for Interstate 579 called for ramps to Fort Duquesne Boulevard on the south side of the Allegheny River. Those ramps were cut from the budget, but not from signs. Fort Duquesne Boulevard appeared on signage along I-579 north until 1991.7
North End – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
South End – Liberty Bridge Approach – Downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- Bridges and Tunnels of Allegheny County: Liberty Bridge – Bruce S. Cridlebaugh
- Pennsylvania Highways: Interstate 579.
- “The Bridges of Pittsburgh: Veterans Memorial Bridge.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 21, 2013.
- Liberty Bridge – Bridges and Tunnels of Allegheny County and Pittsburgh, PA (Bruce S. Cridlebaugh).
- Liberty Tunnel – Bridges and Tunnels of Allegheny County and Pittsburgh, PA (Bruce S. Cridlebaugh).
- “Feds announce $19 million grant for Hill District, Downtown project.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, July 29, 2016.
- “Erroneous Penndot Sign Sends Wrong Signal to Visitors.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 4, 1991.
- “Penguins Introduce “Center of Energy” Plan for Lower Hill Redevelopment.” Penguins News, March 8, 2019.
Page updated April 11, 2019.