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Ashland Avenue Sanitary and Ship Canal Bridge

Ashland Avenue Sanitary and Ship Canal Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: August 12, 2006 and June 28, 2011

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Ashland Avenue Over Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal
Location
Chicago: Cook County, Illinois: United States
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
1938 By Builder/Contractor: Ketler-Elliott Company of Chicago, Illinois and Engineer/Design: City of Chicago

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
225 Feet (68.58 Meters)
Structure Length
312 Feet (95.1 Meters)
Roadway Width
57 Feet (17.37 Meters)
Spans
1 Main Span(s) and 4 Approach Span(s)
NBI Number
16600326842

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

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

View A Historical Article About The Previous Bridge At This Location

Ashland Avenue Bridge Raised

Photo Credit: Patrick Hynes

Ashland Avenue Bridge Newly Completed

This is rare example... indeed one of only three... examples of very wide pony truss bascule bridges in Chicago that feature three pony truss lines to carry a wide roadway. This bridge was built in 1938, with the superstructure contractor being the Ketler-Elliot Company, the the substructure contractor being Fitzsimons and Connell Dredge and Dock. This bridge is also associated with depression-related funding, and this is shown by the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works label on the plaque. The design composed of three truss lines combined with original, handsomely decorated bridgetender buildings, as well as the Depression funded nature of the bridge make this structure stand out as one of the most historically and technologically significant highway bridges on the Sanitary and Ship Canal.

This bridge still operates for boats, thanks to the Chicago Yacht Yard, which is located along the canal on the west side of Ashland Street. Moving southwest down the canal, the bridge is also the final bridge that still operates for boats. It is interesting to note that if the yacht yard were located on the other side of the road, this bridge would likely no longer lift.

Carnegie Steel marks are found on some of this bridge's steel indicating the source of at least some of the steel used in this bridge.

The first documented bridge at this location was a 160 foot long, 20.5 foot wide iron hand-turned swing bridge built in 1883 by the Detroit Bridge Company. This was followed by the immediate predecessor to the current bridge, which was built in 1902 by the Chicago Bridge and Iron Company. This was a rare Page type bascule bridge. When it was replaced with the current bridge, a temporary bridge was erected next to it to keep the road open to traffic during construction. The temporary bridge was a bobtail swing bridge that was previously used on the Halsted Street Bridge over South Branch Chicago River.

The 1936 Annual Report of the Department of Public Works specified the role the various contractors listed on the bridge plaque played in constructing this bridge. The Overland Construction Company erected the temporary bridge. The Fitz Simmons and Connell Dredge and Dock Company built the substructure. The Ketler-Elliott erected the superstructure. Electrical equipment was installed by the Garden City Engineering Company. The approach was built by the Mid-West Construction Company.

Ashland Avenue Bridge

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Main Plaque

SO. ASHLAND AVE. BRIDGE

FEDERAL EMERGENCY ADMINISTRATION
OF PUBLIC WORKS
PROJECT - ILLINOIS - 1170

CITY OF CHICAGO
1938

EDWARD J. KELLY
MAYOR

OSCAR E. HEWITT
COMMISSIONER OF PUBLIC WORKS

JOHN O. WILSON
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER OF PUBLIC WORKS

LORAN D. GAYTON
CITY ENGINEER


THOMAS G. PIHLFELDT
ENGINEER OF BRIDGES

CLARENCE S. ROWE
ENG. OF BRIDGE CONSTRUCTION
DONALD N. BECKER
ENGINEER OF BRIDGE DESIGN

CARL D. JOHNSON
RESIDENT ENGINEER

CHICAGO PLAN COMMISSION

A. A. SPRAGUE    CHAIRMAN

MICHAEL ZIMMER JOHN WENTWORTH
VICE-CHAIRMEN

HUGH E. YOUNG    CHIEF ENGINEER

CONTRACTORS

THE KETLER-ELLIOTT CO.

FITZ SIMMONS AND CONNELL DREDGE AND DOCK
THE OVERLAND CONST' CO. MID WEST CONST' CORP

GARDEN CITY ENGINEERING CO.

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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.

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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