North Avenue Bridge over the north branch of the Chicago River.

Revised and expanded on 1/5/2018

This is the first hybrid suspension/cable-stay bridge in the Chicago area. It is a replacement of a bascule bridge built in 1907. The bridge ( 1150 West; 11600 North) runs east to west crossing the North Branch Chicago River 3.9 miles from the river mouth. This is the fifth bridge at this site. The northern half of the bridge opened in January, 2008; southern half opened in May,2008. There are two lanes of traffic in each direction.

Contractors are:

Design: City of Chicago and architect Muller and Muller, Ltd.

Construction: McHugh

Cost $21.4 million


North Avenue Bridge over the North Branch of the Chicago River


View from North Avenue Bridge of the North Branch of the Chicago River looking north


North Avenue Bridge


Same as above


View of North Branch of the Chicago River from the North Avenue Bridge Looking North


North Avenue Bridge Plaque


Bridge Plaque


North Avenue Bridge


Goose Island


View from the North Avenue Bridge


View from the North Avenue Bridge


Same as above


North Avenue Bridge


North Avenue Bridge


Railroad Bridge on the south side

Railroad Bridge on the south side of North Avenue Bridge

The structure measures 420 feet from anchor block to anchor block. It consists of three segments. There is one main span measuring 252 feet and two 84 feet a approach spans. There are two traffic lanes in both directions. There is a complex system of supporting cables. There are impressive 67 foot pylons. These each weigh 97,000 pounds.

In the 1850’s, residents around North Avenue lobbied for a bridge across the North Branch Chicago River. They raised $1000 for the project. They promised to pay for maintenance for 2 years. The bridge opened in 1858. It was a wood hand operated pontoon swing bridge.


Designers: unknown.

Construction: Department of Public Works City of Chicago

Construction Costs were $3000.

The bridge failed in the winter of 1864–5

The second bridge at North Avenue was a 145 foot long and 19 foot wide all wood hand operated swing bridge. It opened in 1866.


Designers: Unknown

Construction: Newton Chapinn

Costs $2700.

It was removed In 1877.

The third bridge at this site was a wood and iron swing hand operated bridge. It opened in 1877. It was 150 foot long by 29 foot wide.

Contractors were:

Design: Unknown

Construction: Conro and Carkin Company

Costs were $7,149.

Removed in 1906.

The fourth bridge at this site opened on September 21, 1907. It was a Chicago style bascule bridge. It was electric powered and made of steel. There were fixed steel girder approaches. There were three 115 foot riveted steel trusses. The bridge was 260 feet in length. It was 42 feet wide. There were two lanes of street traffic.

Contractors were:

Designers: Thomas G. Pihlfeldt and Alexander von Babo.

Superstructure contractor: Roemheld and Gallery

Substructure contractor: Jackson and Corbett

Costs were $196,964

Closed on 2006.

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