This bridge is a riveted through plate girder. The way the spans are arranged, and the fact that the center span has a metal grate deck make this bridge seem like it might have once been part of a movable bridge, like Western Avenue Bridge. However this bridge has always been a fixed bridge. A plaque on the bridge dated 1970 refers to the construction date of this bridge. As such, this bridge is an extremely late example of a riveted plate girder. Welded and bolted girders were the standard by 1970, with rivets nearly completely retired by this time in bridge construction work. The previous bridge at this location was a through truss swing bridge. The National Bridge Inventory lists the bridge as being built in 1909 and rehabilitated in 1969. While obviously an error, one has to wonder where the 1909 date came from. It might refer to when the previous swing bridge was first constructed. This previous bridge was a through truss center pier swing bridge with pin connections. The portal bracing had two decorative stars integrated into it.
When the current bridge was constructed, a temporary bridge was first built to carry traffic during construction.
Thanks to Tom Winkle for providing boat transportation to assist in the photo-documentation of this historic bridge.
The 1906 Annual Report of the Department of Public Works remarked that the first documented Kedzie Avenue Bridge over the canal was built in 1879 and was a fixed iron bridge. The now-filled-in West Fork of the South Branch Chicago River also had a fixed iron bridge over it, but it was built in 1881, replacing a wooden bridge destroyed in a flood that took place in that year.
Above: A view of the previous bridge at this location, a few years before it was replaced.
Above: The previous bridge in the early stages of demolition.
Above: The previous bridge in the late stages of demolition.
Above: Photos showing construction of the current bridge.
Above: A photo showing construction of the current bridge with the temporary bridge in the foreground.
Main PlaqueSO. KEDZIE AVE.
CITY OF CHICAGO
RICHARD J. DALEY
COMMISSIONER OF PUBLIC WORKS
ASST. CHIEF ENGINEER - DESIGN
CHIEF BRIDGE ENGINEER
ASST. CHIEF BRIDGE ENGINEER
ASST. CHIEF ENGINEER - CONSTRUCTION
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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.
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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.
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