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Columbus Drive Bridge

William P. Fahey Bridge

Columbus Drive Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: October 1, 2010

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Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Columbus Drive Over Chicago River
Chicago: Cook County, Illinois: United States
Structure Type
Metal Non-Historic, Movable: Double Leaf Bascule (Fixed Trunnion) and Approach Spans: Metal Stringer (Multi-Beam), Fixed
Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
269.0 Feet (82 Meters)
Structure Length
389.0 Feet (118.6 Meters)
Roadway Width
90 Feet (27.43 Meters)
1 Main Span(s) and 4 Approach Span(s)
Inventory Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

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

View Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) Documentation For This Bridge

Columbus Drive Bridge

Note: This modern bridge is not historic. This page is provided for reasons of comparison and continuity of downtown Chicago listings only.

This bridge was built in 1982. HistoricBridges.org has a policy to not include any bridge newer than 1970, however exceptions were made with two bridges in the downtown Loop area of Chicago so that those planning a tour of the Loop bridges can get information on all Loop bridges from HistoricBridges.org and also not be confused by gaps in the tour.

Including this non-historic bridge on HistoricBridges.org is also an opportunity to make a comparison to the historic bridges. There is a stark difference between even the younger 1960s bascule bridges in Chicago and this non-historic bridge. The extremely simplistic superstructure of the bridge as well as a lack of adornment on bridgetender buildings makes the modern bridges rather plain and non-descript compared to the intricate beauty of the historic bascule bridges in Chicago. This is a trend seen in all bridges nationwide. Beauty and aesthetics are rarely given genuine attention in modern bridge construction. This is why the preservation of historic bridges is essential, since beyond the heritage value of the bridges, historic bridges are so much more beautiful. That said, in comparison to other bridges built in the 1980s, this bridge does have a better than average appearance as compared to other bridges such as the Randolph Street Bridge.

This bridge was dedicated to William P. Fahey a police officer shot in the line of duty in 1982.

Eric Bronsky contacted HistoricBridges.org with some interesting information about this bridge. He worked for the Chicago Department of Public Works from 1976-1989. As an architectural modelbuilder, he built several models for Chicago, including the display model of Columbus Drive Bridge. In the era before CAD, physical 3D models were frequently built as a design check. While building this model, he encountered a structural conflict and brought it to the attention of one of the designers. Sure enough, there was an error in the engineering drawings that required modifying the design. This model has not been displayed publicly since around 1990, and it is not known if it still exists. Eric kindly provided the below photo showing the model.

Above: View of the model of the Columbus Drive Bridge. Photo Credit: Eric Bronsky.

Columbus Drive Bridge Model




Main Plaque




Commissioner of Public Works

City Engineer

Asst. Chief Engineer
Deputy Comr. of Pub. Wks.

Chief Construction Engr.

Chief Bridge Engineer

Project Manager

Resident Engineer

AISC Award Plaque



Awarded in 1984 by



Historic Bridges of Chicago and Cook County

Flag of Chicago Seal of Cook County

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.

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.


Photo Galleries and Videos: Columbus Drive Bridge


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Bridge Photo-Documentation

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Bridge Being Raised

Full Motion Video
Streaming video of the bridge. Also includes a higher quality downloadable video for greater clarity or offline viewing.


Maps and Links: Columbus Drive Bridge

Coordinates (Latitude, Longitude):

Search For Additional Bridge Listings:

Bridgehunter.com: View listed bridges within 0.5 miles (0.8 kilometers) of this bridge.

Bridgehunter.com: View listed bridges within 10 miles (16 kilometers) of this bridge.

HistoricBridges.org Bridge Browser: View listed bridges within 0.5 miles (0.8 kilometers) of this bridge.

HistoricBridges.org Bridge Browser: View listed bridges within 10 miles (16 kilometers) of this bridge.

2021 National Bridge Inventory: View listed bridges within 0.5 miles (0.8 kilometers) of this bridge.

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