This bridge is one of two nearly identical bridges that carry Kedzie Avenue over the lagoon system that winds through the park. Kedzie Avenue travels right through the middle of Marquette Park, and as a result these bridges form something of a centerpiece for the park. These reinforced concrete t-beam bridges are beautifully formed with substantial architectural detailing on both the railing system, abutments, and the outside faces of the superstructure. Two different bronze plaques are present on on each bridge. One details the county personnel involved in the construction of the bridge while the other plaque focuses on the engineers and contractors involved with the bridge. The historic integrity of these bridges appears to be excellent with no major alterations to the structural design or the architectural detailing present.
Although both bridges were built at the exact same time, this southern bridge appears to be in poorer structural condition. It has been reduced to two lane which travel only on the eastern side of the bridge, likely as a result of this deterioration.
Despite the historic and aesthetic significance of the Kedzie Avenue Bridges, both are slated for demolition and replacement. This is extremely disappointing since it will eliminate the beauty and continuity currently seen in Marquette Park where all existing bridges appear to have at least some level of historic value. The consultant claims that the architectural features of the existing bridges will be "maintained." While replicating historic and architectural features of a historic bridge may be an acceptable route if the bridge in question is truly beyond repair, it is not apparent that these bridges have deteriorated to this point. In addition, it is doubtful that the reinforced concrete t-beam structure type will be replicated. Some sort of pre-stressed concrete box beam bridge is more likely. The idea of a historic bridge is that it is old and maintains some level of its original design and materials. The idea of preservation is to improve the physical condition of a bridge while attempting to maintain as much original material and design as possible. It is unfortunate that this type of rehabilitation has not been selected for these bridges.
Below is the text regarding the replacement project appearing on the Infrastructure Engineering website.
Infrastructure Engineering, Inc., as a prime consultant, is providing structural and civil engineering services for the superstructure replacement and repairs of two bridges on Kedzie Avenue over the lagoons in historic Marquette Park. The final design will recognize the historic nature of the area and maintain the architectural features of the existing bridges while improving the safety for the public. IEI will provide engineering services to complete construction documents including structural, roadway and erosion control plans. IEI will also inspect and replace the superstructure.
Daniel Ryan, listed as a member of the road and bridge committee on the plaque for this bridge, later became President of the Board of County Commissioners.
County PlaqueBUILT 1933 BY
BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
OF COOK COUNTY
ROAD AND BRIDGE COMMITTEE
Construction PlaqueKEDZIE AVENUE
MARQUETTE PARK SOUTH BRIDGE
SECTION 053 - 2121 - M.F.T.
STATE AID ROUTE 53
E. J. ALBRECHT CO.
H. C. TAYLOR
GEORGE A. QUINLAN
SUPERINTENDENT OF HIGHWAYS
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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.
September 2015 - Fall Bridge Lift Season is Underway. View Schedule.
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.
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.
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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