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Additional Information: Despite its appearance that is similar to bridges that follow the designs of the City of Chicago, this bridge in fact was designed by Strauss Bascule Bridge Company and has the patented design of the county, which included a counterweight trunnion in addition to the main trunnion. The two trunnions can be seen in the historical photo of the bridge widening below.
This bridge is noted as a rare example of a pony truss bascule bridge with three truss lines. A plaque on the bridge says the Cicero Avenue Bridge was "widened and modernized" in 1966. This refers to this bridge's interesting history. The bridge originally had two truss lines, and a third truss line was added in 1966 to widen the bridge. This third truss replicates the 1927 trusses exactly as it is not easily discernable as to which truss is the newer one. However, carefully looking at some of the new steel reveals a United States Steel logo on some of the steel. U.S. Steel did not use their logo in 1927 and instead used the names of its subsidiary mills. However by 1966 they were using their logo on steel. A 1949 advertisement shown below shows the United States Steel logo. Above, a photo shows the bridge prior to being widened.
This bridge is one of a number of bascule bridges on the Sanitary and Ship Canal that no longer raises. The bridge tender buildings have been removed, as well as the traffic gates. The only plaque on this bridge today is a plaque from the 1966 widening, mounted on the end of the truss, an unusual location among Chicago bascule bridges. A historical photo from before the widening clearly shows two plaques, one appearing to be a large typical city bridge plaque, and the other being a smaller plaque with unknown content. These plaques, now missing from the bridge, were also mounted on the ends of the truss, indicating that the unusual plaque locations on this bridge is something that predates the widening project.
Thanks to Tom Winkle for providing boat transportation to assist in the photo-documentation of this historic bridge.
Above: This photo shows the bridge under construction, but nearly completed.
Above: This photo shows the bridge in 1960, only a few years before it was widened.
Above: These photos from 1964 shows the widening project underway.
Truss bridges with riveted connections like the Cicero Avenue Bridge required riveting in the field where the members of the truss were riveted together at the connection gusset plates. Field riveting was usually accomplished with a pneumatic riveting hammer. While the hot rivet was being hammered, someone would have to use a holder on to hold the end of the rivet with the pre-formed shop head in place while the other end was hammered into shape. A holder on might be pneumatic or might simply rely on pressure applied by the worker. A pneumatic riveting hammer is shown above and a pneumatic holder on is shown below.
Rehabilitation PlaqueS. CICERO AVE.
WIDENED AND MODERNIZED 1966
CITY OF CHICAGO
RICHARD J. DALEY
Commissioner of Public Works
WALTER E. RASMUS
Asst. Chief Engineer Const'n
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