This bridge is slated for rehabilitation to run from December 2014 to April 2015 at a cost of $5.4 Million. The work is to include new roadway deck and sidewalk deck, truss repairs, and unspecified repairs to the floorbeams and lateral bracing.
This bridge is a single leaf bascule bridge in Chicago, which is far less common in the city than the double-leaf bascule. Most single-leaf bascule bridges in Chicago are railroad bridges, and as such the 18th Street Bridge is one of only a few single leaf highway bascule bridges. This bridge is also the only single leaf example of Chicago's unique truss bascule design which the qualities of a pony truss and a deck truss, called a railing height truss. This was an innovative design that kept the majority of the truss below the deck in an attractive polygonal arch-like shape. At the same time, the top chord was located above the deck to function as a railing and increase the below-deck clearance for the bridge while also creating a slimmer profile for the bridge's appearance. With a 1967 construction date, the 18th Street Bridge is one of the youngest of Chicago's historic bridges. HistoricBridges.org considers all bascule bridges in Chicago constructed before 1970 to have at least some level of historic significance and value. The bridge retains good historic integrity and appears largely unaltered. A long viaduct of simple stringer spans provide an approach to this bridge. This viaduct system is not included as part of the bridge proper and so the lengths of these viaducts are not included in the technical facts table on this bridge page. A plaque on the bascule bridge relates a variety of information including that this is the fourth bridge at this location, however the plaque fails to list the contractors for the construction of the bridge. Despite its young age, the bascule bridge remains noteworthy for its single leaf configuration. The bridge as well as the viaduct approach system all cost $6,700,000. The project began on January 27, 1965 and the bridge opened to traffic on August 17, 1967, with all work totally completed by December 12, 1967.
The first documented bridge at this location was built in 1868 by Fox and Howard and was a combination iron/wood swing bridge and was hand-turned. The King Bridge Company of Cleveland, Ohio replaced the bridge with an iron and steel swing bridge (also hand turned) in 1888. The bridge was again replaced, this time in 1905 with a steel Scherzer Rolling Lift bascule bridge built by Jackson and Corbett Company. The previous 1888 bridge was moved and reused at South Western Avenue.
Above: Photos of the bridge shortly after completion, with the bridge in a raised position.
Above: These photos show the elaborate through truss approach viaduct that preceded the current bridge.
Above: This photo shows the demolition of the previous bascule bridge, with the previous approach viaduct still standing to the right. The downtown skyline can be seen in the background, as well as the two railroad bridges in the background.
Main PlaqueW. 18TH STREET
FOURTH AT THIS SITE
--- 1967 ---
CITY OF CHICAGO
RICHARD J. DALEY
Commissioner of Public Works
WALTER E. RASMUS
Asst. Chief Engineer Constn.
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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.
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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.
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