With a 1960 construction date this is one of the newest of Chicago's bascule bridges. It continues to use the the combination deck-pony truss design that had been in use in Chicago since 1922. The bridge's truss details are nearly identical in appearance to the earlier examples. That a truss bridge design was used with little changes over a period of 38 years is remarkable and is testimony to the effectiveness of the design.
This bridge has 23 Feet of navigational vertical clearance. The pedestrian railings of this bridge were replaced in 2006. Historical photos shown at right show that a previous bridge at this location was a deck truss Scherzer rolling lift bascule bridge.
While the plaque on this bridge does not list contractors, Divane Brothers Electric Company, who did work on other bridges, includes a photo of the opening of this bridge on their history page, suggesting they were the electrical contractors for this bridge. The photo lists the official opening day as Tuesday August 23, 1960.
According to the 1958 Annual Report of the Public Works Department, the bridge was constructed with the previous bridge remaining open to traffic. Apparently as a result of the position of old and new abutments, this required the old bridge to operate as a single leaf bascule, so alterations were made to make this possible. Therefore, during construction, the crossing maintained for traffic was partly a temporary bridge and partly the previous bridge. The photo to the left of this narrative shows the bridge under construction, and it can be seen that only one leaf of the old bridge was able to be raised at this point. When completed, the bridge was able to be raised or lowered in 50 seconds. The cost of the bridge was $5,750,000.
The contractor for the substructure was the M. J. Boyle and Company who bid $898,575. The superstructure contractor was Overland Construction Company of Chicago who bid $2,373,846.50. Harry A. Thompson, Inc. bid $149,362.50 for removal of temporary construction, obstructions, and dredging.
The first documented bridge at this location was built by the American Bridge Company of Chicago in 1877 as an iron, hand-turned swing bridge. The bridge was 175 feet long and 31 feet wide. The bridge was replaced in 1905 by a steel Scherzer Rolling Lift bascule bridge under the direction of the Sanitary District of Chicago. The bridge was 247.4 feet long and 52 feet wide. The bridge superstructure contractor was Jackson and Corbett Bridge and Steel Works. The official contract language for the project can be viewed here.
Main PlaqueW. HARRISON ST.
THIRD AT THIS SITE
--- 1960 ---
CITY OF CHICAGO
RICHARD J. DALEY
GEORGE L. DE MENT
Commissioner of Public Works
DICK VAN GORP
STEPHEN J. MICHUDA
Chief Bridge Engineer
Engineer of Bridge Constr.
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