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95th Street Bridge

   


95th Street Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: August 11, 2006, September 7, 2011, and September 10, 2012
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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
95th Street Bridge (US-12) Over Calumet River
Location
Chicago: Cook County, Illinois
Structure Type
Metal Rivet-Connected Pratt Pony Truss, Movable: Double Leaf Bascule (Fixed Trunnion) and Approach Spans: Metal Stringer (Multi-Beam), Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1958 By Builder/Contractor: Overland Construction Company of Chicago, Illinois and Engineer/Design: City of Chicago

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
239 Feet (72.8 Meters)
Structure Length
343 Feet (104.5 Meters)
Roadway Width
62 Feet (18.9 Meters)
Spans
1 Main Span(s) and 4 Approach Span(s)
NBI Number
16603823014

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

View Archived National Bridge Inventory Report - Has Additional Details and Evaluation

95th Street Bridge In Raised Position

Previous 95th Street BridgeDick Van GorpSome may recognize this bridge as the bridge that was made famous when it made an appearance in the Blues Brothers movie when the Bluesmobile jumps over the bridge in the raised position. In the movie, the bridge was painted the white color that the city used to paint its bridges until the city switched to the maroon color seen today.

This is one of the latest examples of the pony truss bascule bridge design that features curved pony trusses with riveted connections as was fairly common in Chicago. The bridge was opened to traffic on June 27, 1958. This bridge still operates for boats as do all the Calumet River bascule bridges. This bridge is a wide six lane structure. The bridge tower and abutments reflect the unadorned and perhaps somewhat streamlined architecture of the period. The bridge was designed to operate with 100 H.P. motors powering each leaf.

According to the Annual Report of the Public Works Department, the contract for the construction of this bridge's superstructure went to the Overland Construction Company, whose bid was $2,551,597. The Electrical equipment contracted was awarded to the Fries-Walters Company on a bid of $488,810. The substructure was built by the Kenny Construction Company with a bid of $1,147,500. Overall, the bridge constructed about $5,700,000 to construct. Dick Van Gorp, pictured to the left, was Chicago's Chief Engineer when this bridge was built.

The first documented bridge at this location was described in the Annual Report of the Public Works Department as a hand-operated "Howe truss" built in 1891 by the Chicago Forge and Bolt Company. The next bridge at this location (which directly preceded the existing bridge) was one of the first fixed trunnion bascule bridges to be designed by Chicago. It was built by Roemheld and Gallery and was 319.5 feet long and 60 feet wide. However, its on-site construction was not completed before the Cortland Street Bridge was finished, also designed around the same time, so the Cortland Street Bridge is acknowledged as the first Chicago fixed trunnion bascule bridge.

Thanks to Tom Winkle for providing boat transportation to assist in the photo-documentation of this historic bridge.

Previous 95th Street BridgePrevious 95th Street Bridge Raised

Previous 95th Street BridgePrevious 95th Street Bridge

Main Plaque

EAST 95TH STREET
BRIDGE

THIRD AT THIS SITE
--- 1958 ---

CITY OF CHICAGO

RICHARD J. DALEY
Mayor

GEORGE L. DE MENT
Commissioner of Public Works

DICK VAN GORP
Chief Engineer

STEPHEN J. MICHUDA
Chief Bridge Engineer

M. D. KRAUSMAN
Asst. Chief Bridge Engineer
J. R. BUTLER
Bridge Engineer - Design

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Historic Bridges of Chicago and Cook County

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Chicago and Cook County are home to one of the largest collections of historic bridges in the country, and no other city in the world has more movable bridges. HistoricBridges.org is proud to offer the most extensive coverage of historic Chicago bridges on the Internet.

Chicago / Cook County Bridge News

October 2015 - Patrick T. McBriarty, author of Chicago's River Bridges, informs HistoricBridges.org that in recognition for the "outstanding and original reference work that will support future scholarship in the history of technology", the book was awarded the biennial Eugene S. Ferguson Prize by the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT) at the SHOT Annual Meeting's awards banquet. See press release. This is the third award for this book. Order Now Direct From The Publisher! or order on Amazon.

October 23, 2015 - The Franklin Street Bridge celebrates its 95th Anniversary. Please view this announcement prepared by Chicago Loop Bridges or view it on the Chicago Loop Bridges Website.

September 2015 - Fall Bridge Lift Season is Underway. View Schedule.

May 2015 - Michigan Avenue Bridge celebrates its 95th Birthday this month! Click here for a news article.

October 2014 - A visit to Chicago revealed that the Van Buren Street Pedestrian Bridge was not demolished, but instead extensively rehabbed. The railings are new, but replicate the original design. The concrete encasement was removed and not replaced, and instead the exposed riveted steel beams have been painted. The riveted beams look quite nice, and given the condition of the bridge prior to the project this seems like a good outcome. In other news, the rehabilitation and repainting of the La Salle Street Bridge is ongoing, and the project to extend the Chicago Riverwalk under additional bridges on the Main Branch is continuing.

September 2014 - Chicago's dubious distinction of offering numerous boat tours that pass under the bridges but offer narration only of the buildings has ended with the start of a Wendella tour that focuses on bridges! Information is here.

July 29, 2013 - A project study has been initiated for the reconstruction of historic North Lake Shore Drive. This project puts a large number of historic bridges at risk for demolition and replacement. However, it could also be an opportunity to rehabilitate the bridges. Visit the project website.

May 15, 2013 - The Ashland Avenue Bridge over North Branch Chicago River has been recommended for Chicago Landmark designation by the Chicago Art Deco Society.

April 30, 2013 - Illinois Landmarks has included Chicago's Bascule Bridges as one of their Top 10 Most Endangered Historic Places. View The Official Page.

General Chicago / Cook County Bridge Resources

Chicago's Bridges - By Nathan Holth, author of HistoricBridges.org, this book provides a discussion of the history of Chicago's movable bridges, and includes a virtual tour discussing all movable bridges remaining in Chicago today. Despite this broad coverage, the book is presented in a compact format that is easy to take with you and carry around for reference on a visit to Chicago. The book includes dozens of full color photos. Only $9.95 U.S! ($11.95 Canadian). Order Now Direct From The Publisher! or order on Amazon.

Chicago River Bridges - By Patrick T. McBriarty, this is a great companion to Holth's book shown above. This much larger book offers an extremely in-depth exploration of Chicago's movable highway bridges, including many crossings that have not existed for many years. Order Now Direct From The Publisher! or order on Amazon.

View Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) Overview of Chicago Bascule Bridges (HAER Data Pages, PDF)

Chicago Loop Bridges - Chicago Loop Bridges is another website on the Internet that is a great companion to the HistoricBridges.org coverage of the 18 movable bridges within the Chicago Loop. This website includes additional information such as connections to popular culture, overview discussions and essays about Chicago's movable bridges, additional videos, and current news and events relating to the bridges.

Additional Online Articles and Resources - This page is a large gathering of interesting articles and resources that HistoricBridges.org has uncovered during research, but which were not specific to a particular bridge listing.

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Photos and Videos: 95th Street Bridge

Available Photo Galleries and Videos

Click on a thumbnail or gallery name below to visit that particular photo gallery. If videos are available, click on a video name to view and/or download that particular video.

 
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Structure Overview
Original / Full Size Photos
A collection of overview photos that show the bridge as a whole and general areas of the bridge. For the best visual immersion and full detail, or for use as a desktop background, this gallery presents the photos for this bridge in the original digital camera resolution.
View Photo Gallery
Structure Details
Original / Full Size Photos
A collection of detail photos that document the parts, construction, and condition of the bridge. For the best visual immersion and full detail, or for use as a desktop background, this gallery presents the photos for this bridge in the original digital camera resolution.
View Photo Gallery
Structure Overview
Mobile Optimized Gallery
A collection of overview photos that show the bridge as a whole and general areas of the bridge. View the photos for this bridge in a reduced size which is useful for mobile/smartphone users, modem (dial-up) users, or those who do not wish to wait for the longer download times of the full-size photos. Alternatively, view this photo gallery using a popup slideshow viewer (great for mobile users) by clicking the link below.
Browse Gallery With Popup Viewer
View Photo Gallery
Structure Details
Mobile Optimized Gallery
A collection of detail photos that document the parts, construction, and condition of the bridge. View the photos for this bridge in a reduced size which is useful for mobile/smartphone users, modem (dial-up) users, or those who do not wish to wait for the longer download times of the full-size photos. Alternatively, view this photo gallery using a popup slideshow viewer (great for mobile users) by clicking the link below.
Browse Gallery With Popup Viewer
View Video
Bridge Being Lowered
Full Motion Video
View from roadway. Streaming video of the bridge. Also includes a higher quality downloadable video for greater clarity or offline viewing.
View Video
Bridge Being Raised
Full Motion Video
View from roadway. Streaming video of the bridge. Also includes a higher quality downloadable video for greater clarity or offline viewing.
View Video
Bridge Being Raised
Full Motion Video
Distant view. Streaming video of the bridge. Also includes a higher quality downloadable video for greater clarity or offline viewing.
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Eastbound Crossing
Full Motion Video
Streaming video of the bridge. Also includes a higher quality downloadable video for greater clarity or offline viewing.

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