Cermak Road was originally known as 22nd Street. This bridge was designed by Scherzer Rolling Lift Bridge Company. Today this type of movable bridge is in fact known as a Scherzer rolling lift bascule bridge. In Chicago, where the city usually built trunnion bascule bridges, this is the only remaining example of this bridge type on Chicago's roads. The city preferred the trunnion bascule bridge over the rolling lift bridge because rolling lift bridges shift the dead load on the abutments, which tends to wear out and damage the abutments over time on the unstable soil conditions that were found in Chicago. The city became very adept at designing trunnion bascule bridges, and so nearly all of the trunnion bascule bridges in Chicago were designed in-house by the city. The Cermak Road Bridge however, as a rolling lift bridge, was not designed by the city, but was designed by the Scherzer Rolling Lift Bridge Company which obviously specialized in the rolling lift design.
The superstructure contractor for this bridge was George W. Jackson, Inc. of Chicago which was also listed in the Annual Report of the Department of Public Works under the name of Jackson and Corbett Bridge and Steel Company. The substructure contractor was Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company of Chicago.
Much like the Kinzie Street Bridge, a large amount of original bridge material has been removed and replaced in-kind. As such, while the bridge has lost integrity of original materials, it retains integrity of design and function.
While the primary goal with any historic bridge should be to preserve as much original material as possible, whenever something is replaced, it should be the goal to replace in-kind with as accurate a replica as possible. While it would be nice to see a greater quantity of original material on this bridge, this is nevertheless a good example of how a bridge beyond repair or nearly beyond repair might still be able to display the features which give it historic value. The only major shortcoming of the replacement is that standard high strength bolts were used instead of rivets. If rivets were used it appears it would be a perfect replication. From an aesthetic standpoint, the city could have partially simulated the appearance of rivets by using round head bolts which would make the bolts look more like rivets than the hex heads on the standard bolts the city used.
The previous and first documented bridge at this location was built in 1871 as an iron/wood combination bridge by Fox and Howard. It was 210 feet long and 32 feet wide.
Main PlaqueERECTED BY
SANITARY DISTRICT OF CHICAGO
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
ROBERT R. MCCORMICK
Information and Findings About Cermak Road Bridge District From Chicago Landmarks Designation
Address: Cermak Road, predominantly between Grove
and Jefferson Sts.
This Bridge Contributes To A Designated Chicago Landmark District
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