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Van Buren Street Bridge

Van Buren Street Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: August 12, 2006 and 2010-2013

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Van Buren Street Over South Branch Chicago River
Location
Chicago: Cook County, Illinois: United States
Structure Type
Metal Rivet-Connected Pratt Railing Height Truss, Movable: Double Leaf Bascule (Fixed Trunnion) and Approach Spans: Metal Stringer (Multi-Beam), Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1956 By Builder/Contractor: Overland Construction Company of Chicago, Illinois and Engineer/Design: City of Chicago

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
210 Feet (64 Meters)
Structure Length
267 Feet (81 Meters)
Roadway Width
44 Feet (13.41 Meters)
Spans
1 Main Span(s) and 2 Approach Span(s)
NBI Number
16605126836

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

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

View A Detailed Historical Article About A Previous Scherzer Rolling Lift Bascule Bridge At This Location

View A Shorter Historical Article About A Previous Scherzer Rolling Lift Bascule Bridge At This Location

Van Buren Street Bridge

This bridge is similar to the Harrison Street Bridge. There are some interestingly designed concrete approach railings near to this bridge but it is not known what their relationship is to this bridge if any. Typical of the post-1950 bascule bridges, the bridge tender towers have very little of the ornate architecture as well instead opting for the more simplistic appearance that was typical for the period.

Van Buren Street Bridge Construction Drawing

While the bridge's plaque does not list the contractors for the bridge, an Annual Report of the Public Works Department did. Overland Construction Company of Chicago, Illinois constructed the superstructure for a cost of $1,514,273. The M. J. Boyle and Company removed the previous bridge and dredged the construction site for $332,675. Electrical work was completed by the Divane Brothers Electric Company for $332,675. The bridge tender house and enclosures were built by the R. C. Wieboldt Company for $157,043. A historical photo of the bridge's substructure construction includes a view of a girder with Bethlehem painted on it indicating that Bethlehem Steel fabricated at least some of the steel.

In 2014, this bridge was rehabilitated. Work included a new roadway deck, repaired trusses, floor beams and lateral bracing.

The first documented bridge at this location was built in 1867 by Fox and Howard and was an iron/wood combination bridge. The bridge was a hand-turned swing bridge. The bridge burned in the 1871 Chicago Fire and was rebuilt in 1872, again as a combination iron/wood bridge, this time by E. Sweet Junior and Company. The next bridge at this location immediately preceded the existing bridge and was a bascule built in 1895 and was one of the first Scherzer Rolling Lift bascule bridges ever built. According to a conceptual drawing, the existing bridge was constructed in the raised position, while maintaining traffic on the 1895 bridge during construction. The contractor was Charles Louis Strobel.

Former Van Buren Street BridgeFormer Van Buren Street BridgeFormer Van Buren Street Bridge Machinery RoomPrevious Van Buren Street Bridge

Above: The above four photos show the previous 1895 Scherzer rolling lift bascule bridge at this location.

 

Main Plaque

W. VAN BUREN ST.
BRIDGE

FOURTH AT THIS SITE

-- 1957 --

CITY OF CHICAGO

RICHARD J. DALEY
Mayor

GEORGE L. DE MENT
Commissioner of Public Works

DICK VAN GORP
Chief Engineer

STEPHEN J. MICHUDA
Chief Bridge Engineer


M. D. KRAUSMAN
Asst. Chief bridge Engineer
J. R. BUTLER
Bridge Engineer (Design)

EDWARD KLAUSNER
Bridge Engineer (Constr.)

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Historic Bridges of Chicago and Cook County

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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.

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Photo Galleries and Videos: Van Buren Street Bridge

 
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Bridge Photo-Documentation
Original / Full Size Photos
A collection of overview and detail photos. This gallery offers photos in the highest available resolution and file size in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer
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Bridge Photo-Documentation
Mobile Optimized Photos
A collection of overview and detail photos. This gallery features data-friendly, fast-loading photos in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer
View Video
Raising Bridge, Elevation
Full Motion Video
Streaming video of the bridge. Also includes a higher quality downloadable video for greater clarity or offline viewing.
View Video
Raising Bridge, Elevation
Full Motion Video
Taken June 2011. Streaming video of the bridge. Also includes a higher quality downloadable video for greater clarity or offline viewing.

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Maps and Links: Van Buren Street Bridge

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