This bridge is one of the few bascule bridges in Chicago that is a true deck truss. In the construction of deck truss bridges, the city more frequently preferred to raise the truss up slightly so that the top chord was above the deck functioning as a guardrail and increasing the vertical clearance under the bridge. That was not done with this bridge, so it stands out as uncommon in the city. Although the bridge was built in 1960 and is one of the younger bascule bridges in Chicago, its trusses are still composed in the traditional manner that the city used for decades including use of rivets and built-up beams with lattice. This is of interest because the trend nationally by 1960 was to switch to rolled beams, eliminate use of lattice and v-lacing, and use bolts instead of rivets. Chicago however seemed to follow its own path, perhaps not seeing a need to change when the tried and true construction methods had served them so well with so many bridges.
Adam Kerman provided the following information:
The Ohio Street bridge over the north branch of the Chicago River was built as part of the Kennedy Expressway construction in the late 1950s, most of which opened in 1960. It's part of a feeder from Wells Street, three lanes in each direction (getting rid of shoulders during a reconstruction). Note that the expressway feeder is immediately north of the original alignment of Ohio Street, which never had a bridge at this point that I know of. Erie Street, nearby, did have a bridge but it was removed years ago. I never saw it. A swath of mostly industrial buildings were demolished between Ohio and Ontario Streets to build the feeder.
Photo Credit: Patrick Hynes
Above: This historical photo shows a 1/8 scale model of a single bascule leaf similar to one of the four individual leaves of the Ohio Street Bridge. The model was created in 1942 and appears to have been part of a unique promotional effort to sell war bonds during World War II. While the model significantly predates the Ohio Street Bridge, it is not known which bridge (if any) that model was specifically built to look like, however the Ohio Street Bridge's leaves are one of the most similar structures to this model.
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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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