Chicago has an extremely large number of grade separation structures, including elevated railroad lines like the CTA L system and the old Illinois Central line (Southshore and Metra), to ground level railroad lines where the highway either passes over or dives under the railroad line. A few of those where the highway dives under the railroad line feature bridges that are extremely wide to the point where they are very much like tunnels. The Austin Avenue Bridge is one such example, which is also noteworthy for its aesthetic details and association with Depression era federal relief programs. Today it carries eight railroad tracks on the north side and an industrial parking lot on the south side. A small gap in the center makes the structure technically two parallel bridges that share a common substructure. The aesthetic styling, seen on the concrete facing of the bridge, the piers, abutments, and approach retaining walls is visually pleasing and retains good integrity. Large bronze plaques associate the Public Works Administration with the project. This bridge is historically significant as a large project funded by Depression era federal aid programs that also retains excellent historic integrity today.
The plaque for this bridge has a contractor listed for "coaling station removal" which obviously seems to indicate an interesting historical fact that there was once a coaling station at this location.
Main PlaqueFEDERAL WORKS AGENCY
PUBLIC WORKS ADMINISTRATION
JOHN M. CARMODY
FEDERAL WORKS ADMINISTRATOR
FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT
PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
BUILT BY THE
CITY OF CHICAGO
EDWARD J. KELLY, MAYOR
BOARD OF LOCAL IMPROVEMENTS
WORK COMMENCED UNDER
JAMES P. BOYLE, PRESIDENT
WORK COMPLETED UNDER
MICHAEL F. MULCAHY, PRESIDENT
WILLIAM W. LINK, VICE PRESIDENT
SEC. AUSTIN AVE. - 1111 - C. S.
Complete Bridge List
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.
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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