Kinzie Street Bridge over north branch Chicago River


Kinzie Street Bridge

         Revised and expanded on 1/14/2018

   There have been six bridges at the Kinzie Street site. The location is historic because: it is the location of the first Chicago bridge (1832); the site of a river fire (1899);site of a flood that shut down the city center for one week (1992).   The current Kinzie Street Bridge (423 west; 400 North) crosses the North Branch Chicago River 1.8 miles from river mouth.  It crosses east to west.   Its technical description is Metal Riveted-connected Pratt through Truss, movable single leaf bascule (Fixed trunnion).  Approach spans metal stringer, fixed.   This bridge is the only remaining single leaf bascule from the first generation through truss.  It opened on May 10, 1909.

     In 1910, danger signals were installed on the west approach; the deck was paved. In 1931, the east bridge house was elevated above the sidewalk and was rebuilt.  In 1939, the upper two stories of the State Street Bridge house were moved to the sw corner of the bridge. In November, 1998,Kinsey Street was closed and the bridge structure was elevated 5 feet.  Bridge was converted from movable to fixed.  The bridge was rehabbed extein 1999.

       The main span is 136.2 feet.  The structure length is 195 feet.  Road width is 36 feet.  There is one main span  and 2 approach spans. 

     Contractors were:

     Design:                  Alexander von Babo   City Engineer of Bridge Design

      Contractor Superstructure:  John J. Gallery

      Contractor Substructure:    Great Lakes Dredge  and Dock Co.

     Construction costs were $199,750.


Kinzie Street Bridge over north branch Chicago 

     The first bridge at Kinzie Street opened in 1832.  It was a fixed wood bent bridge.  

     Contractors were:

     Design:                  Samuel Miller

     Construction:     Samuel Miller

     Construction costs are unknown.

     The bridge was removed In 1839.


Lake Street Bridge as seen from the Kinzie Street Bridge

     The second bridge at this site opened in 1839. It was a wood pontoon swing bridge hand operated.  It was 120 feet by 10 feet.  

     Contractors were:

     Design:  unknown

    Construction:     L. Price and R. Freeman.

     Construction costs were unknown.

     This bridge was destroyed in a flood March 12,1849.

     The third Kinzie Street Bridge opened September, 1849.  It was a pontoon turntable wood swing bridge, hand operated.  

     Contractors were:

     Designer:          Derastus Harper, City Superintendent Public Works

     Construction:  Derastus Harper, City Superintendent Public Works

     Construction costs were $1276.

     Bridge was removed in 1859.


Kinzie RR bridge as seen from the Kinzie Street Bridge

     Fourth bridge at this site opened on November 3, 1859.  It was a swing wood hand operated structure. 

     Contractors were:

Designer:            Newton Chapin and Company

Construction:    Newton Chapin and Company

     Construction costs were:    $15,000

     The bridge was removed In 1870.


Kinzie Street Bridge Bridge Keeper House

     The fifth bridge was constructed in 1870  It was a Howe truss hand operated wood an iron swing bridge.  It was 170 feet long and 31 1/2 feet wide.

     Contractors were:

Designed:          Fox and Howard

Construction:  Fox and Howard

Construction costs were $15,850.

     In April 17, 1899, there was a river fire that caused extensive bridge damage. The bridge house, western approach, roadway, and side walks were rebuilt.

     The bridge was removed on December 16, 1907


Kinzie Street Bridge view of the Grand Avenue and Ohio Street Bridges


Kinzie Street Bridge

Inspection of current bridge on 9/2011.

     Deck.                        Condition         Rating:      Good   7 out of 9

Superstructure.         Condition.        Rating.      Fair       5 out of 9

Substructure              Condition.         Rating.     Satisfactory   6 out of 9

Appraisal  Funtionally obsolete

     There was an unusual incident involving the current bridge.  On Augus, 2004, a river cruise boat the Little Lady was drenched with septic waste from a bus chartered by the Dave Matthews Band.  The driver apparently emptied the holding tank while the bus was on the Kinzie Street Bridge

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