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Grand Avenue Bridge

Indiana Street Bridge

   


Grand Avenue Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: March 26, 2006 and 2010-2013
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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Grand Avenue Over North Branch Chicago 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
1913 By Builder/Contractor: Strobel Steel Construction Company of Chicago, Illinois and Engineer/Design: City of Chicago

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
1974
Main Span Length
188 Feet (57.3 Meters)
Structure Length
270 Feet (82.3 Meters)
Roadway Width
36 Feet (11 Meters)
Spans
1 Main Span(s) and 3 Approach Span(s)
NBI Number
16602126639

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

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

View Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) Documentation For This Bridge

HAER Data Pages, PDF

Charles FitzsimonsThis is among the older of Chicago's bridges with a 1913 construction date, and as such displays the second generation bridge design that the city came up with. Unlike the later pony truss bascule bridges the city would design such as the Franklin Street Bridge (which was built in 1920) the Grand Avenue Bridge has the simpler, more clunky appearance of the earlier pony truss bascule bridges as opposed to the smooth curve seen on Franklin Street.

Local contractors built the Grand Avenue Bridge. The truss superstructure was built in 1913 by the Strobel Steel Construction Company, and the substructure was built by the Fitzsimons and Connell Dredge and Dock Company, both of Chicago.

At least as recently as 1975, a through truss viaduct/overpass led up to the bridge at the western end. This structure appears to have been at least somewhat older than the bascule bridge because it was significantly narrower than the bascule bridge. However despite this it remained in service for at least 50 years after the bascule bridge was built. The wider roadway of the bascule bridge shows the significant foresight that the city had, to build a bridge that while unnecessarily wide in 1914 given the width of the approach viaduct, would accommodate the needs of traffic 50+ years down the road when the viaduct would be replaced with something wider.

Grand Avenue was previously known as Indiana Street in this area. As such, the original plans for this bridge are labeled as the Indiana Street Bridge.

Chicago Department of Transportation is reportedly seeking to rehabilitate this historic bridge, perhaps as soon as 2015.

Grand Avenue Bridge Raised

Photo Credit: Patrick Hynes

Grand Avenue BridgeGrand Avenue Bridge

Above: Historical photos of the bridge taken in 1944 and 1975, respectively. In both photos, the older and narrower approach viaduct west of the bridge is visible.

Strobel Steel Construction Company Advertisement

 

City Plaque

CARTER H. HARRISON - MAYOR.

L. E. MCGANN
COMMISSIONER OF PUBLIC WORKS

JOS. O. KOSTNER
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER OF PUBLIC WORKS

JOHN ERICSON, CITY ENGINEER

ALONZO J. HAMMOND
ENGINEER OF BRIDGES AND HARBOR

A. VON BABO, ENG'R. OF BRIDGE DESIGN

Builder Plaque

SUPERSTRUCTURE BUILT BY

STROBEL STEEL CONSTRUCTION CO.
CHICAGO, ILL

1913

SUBSTRUCTURE BUILT BY

FITZSIMONS & CONNELL D & D CO.
CHICAGO, ILL

Dedication Plaque

DEDICATED TO THE
MEMORY OF

EDWARD R. KELLY

MARCH 2, 1987

FROM A GRATEFUL CITY

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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: Grand Avenue Bridge

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Bumpercam: Westbound Crossing
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Note: The downloadable high quality version of this video (available on the video page) is well worth the download since it offers excellent 1080 HD detail and is vastly more impressive than the compressed streaming video. Streaming video of the bridge. Also includes a higher quality downloadable video for greater clarity or offline viewing.

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