City offers Chicago Avenue Bridge free to good home
Loop North News

Chicago River

(Above) Chicago Avenue Bridge over Chicago River with Montgomery Ward building in background. (Click on images to view larger versions.)

18-Jun-18 – The City of Chicago does not have a bridge to sell you – it wants to give it away for free.

According to a public notice on the city’s website, the Chicago Avenue Bridge over the north branch of the Chicago River is available to anyone who will remove it at their expense, maintain it, and assume all financial responsibility.

Otherwise, the bridge is expected to be demolished so that a non-movable concrete and steel bridge can be built.

Photo by James Phillips (Left) Chicago Avenue Bridge, photographed in 2015 by James Phillips.

The city is asking interested parties to send a letter by July 13 detailing means of funding, how the bridge will be moved, how quickly it will be moved, and where it will be moved to.

The current bridge at Chicago Avenue, a pony truss bascule bridge, opened to traffic in 1914. It was one of the first of the Chicago River bridges to have an operator house made of concrete and not wood. According to a 1911 report by Chicago Department of Public Works, the city intended to eventually build a subway under Chicago Avenue, and so the Chicago Avenue Bridge was specially designed to accommodate future construction of a double subway tunnel.

Today, with its rusted surfaces, broken lights, and loose wire, the bridge has suffered from lack of regular maintenance, according to Ward Miller, executive director of Preservation Chicago.

“It’s...tragic that the famous bascule bridges, an iconic Chicago feature of our city and an amazing collection of these unique historic structures, are being lost so rapidly in and around the North Branch Corridor,” said Miller (right).

If the bridge cannot be repaired, Miller says the city should at least try to reuse in the new bridge what it can from the existing bridge.

Ward Miller

“It would also be good to consider if the existing bridge houses could be restored or reconstructed as necessary and integrated into the new bridge as well. There are several ideas and concepts which could easily be considered and could further enhance the riverfront.”

 More info: Public Notice: Chicago Avenue Bascule Bridge over the North Branch of the Chicago River

Inside Publications contributed to this story.

By Steven Dahlman | Loop North News | sdahlman@loopnorth.com

Published 18-Jun-18 1:11 AM

Loop North News

FREE WEEKLY EMAIL UPDATE

What’s news in the Loop and Near North neighborhoods of downtown Chicago.

Signup for our weekly email. No ads and no charge. Just enter your email address here...

Number of subscribers:
See this week’s update

More stories


Sunday
For the 19th consecutive summer, Eastland Disaster Historical Society will host the anniversary commemoration for Chicago’s greatest loss-of-life tragedy. Guests will include a representative from Chicago Maritime Museum and Patricia Sutton, author of Capsized! The Forgotten Story of the SS Eastland Disaster. 1:00 p.m. on the Chicago Riverwalk on the west side of the Clark Street Bridge. Cost: Free. Map. More info.

July 25
City Winery announces a special boat cruise and food/drink collaboration with The Duck Inn in Bridgeport. Event starts with drinks at City Winery on the Riverwalk between State and Dearborn. Guests will depart on an electric boat catered with cheese, charcuterie, and Piper Champagne. After arriving in Bridgeport, guests will be served a welcome cocktail from The Duck Inn, followed by a multi-course menu consisting of family-style summer dishes and drink pairings from City Winery Reserve wines. Tickets: $257 per person, includes food/drink pairings, boat transportation along the river, and gratuity. 5:30 p.m., City Winery, 11 West Riverwalk South. Map. More info.
More events

Biggest Gainers & Losers

BOEING CO.
356.75 3.48

NORTHERN TRUST CORP.
108.07 2.62

MB FINANCIAL INC.
46.36 2.33

TRIBUNE MEDIA CO.
32.04 2.06

Downtown Chicago Stocks