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 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.
Chicago / Cook County Bridge News
October 2015 - Patrick T. McBriarty, author of Chicago's River Bridges, informs HistoricBridges.org that in recognition for the "outstanding and original reference work that will support future scholarship in the history of technology", the book was awarded the biennial Eugene S. Ferguson Prize by the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT) at the SHOT Annual Meeting's awards banquet. See press release. This is the third award for this book. Order Now Direct From The Publisher! or order on Amazon.
September 2015 - Fall Bridge Lift Season is Underway. View Schedule.
October 2014 - A visit to Chicago revealed that the Van Buren Street Pedestrian Bridge was not demolished, but instead extensively rehabbed. The railings are new, but replicate the original design. The concrete encasement was removed and not replaced, and instead the exposed riveted steel beams have been painted. The riveted beams look quite nice, and given the condition of the bridge prior to the project this seems like a good outcome. In other news, the rehabilitation and repainting of the La Salle Street Bridge is ongoing, and the project to extend the Chicago Riverwalk under additional bridges on the Main Branch is continuing.
September 2014 - Chicago's dubious distinction of offering numerous boat tours that pass under the bridges but offer narration only of the buildings has ended with the start of a Wendella tour that focuses on bridges! Information is here.
July 29, 2013 - A project study has been initiated for the reconstruction of historic North Lake Shore Drive. This project puts a large number of historic bridges at risk for demolition and replacement. However, it could also be an opportunity to rehabilitate the bridges. Visit the project website.
April 30, 2013 - Illinois Landmarks has included Chicago's Bascule Bridges as one of their Top 10 Most Endangered Historic Places. View The Official Page.
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.
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.
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