Washington Boulevard Bridge


Washington Boulevard Bridge

Revised and expanded on 1/3/2018


Washington Boulevard Bridge


Washington Boulevard Bridge


Bridge Tender House Washington Boulevard

     The current Washington Boulevard Bridge (364 West; 50 North)  over the South Branch of the Chicago River is the second bridge at this location.  It is 1.8 miles from the river mouth.  It opened on May 26, 1913.  The bridge type is a metal rivet -connected Pratt Pony Truss, Movable: double leaf bascule (fixed trunnion) and approach spans metal stringer (multibeam), fixed.  There is one main span and 3 approach spans.  The bridge houses have wood side panels and hipped roofs.

     The main span length is 197 feet. The structure length is 303.5 feet. The roadway width is 36 feet.    This bridge was considered the most ornate of the double leaf bascule bridges during this time period.


Washington Boulevard Bridge

Contractors for this project were:

Design:  City Bureau of Engineering and architect Edward Bennett

Superstructure:  Strobel Steel Construction Company of Chicago

Superstructure.  FitzSimons and Connell Dredge and Dock Company.

Engineer/Design City of Chicago

Construction costs were $238, 288.

     The first Washington Boulevard Bridge opened in 1891.  It was an iron swing bridge initially powered by steam; later electric.  The superstructure was the old Madison Street Pratt Truss Bridge.  The Substructure was constructed by the West Chicago Street Railway Company.

Design: American Bridge Company

Superstructure Contractor was American Bridge Company.

Substructure Contractor was FitzSimons and Connell Company

Cost was $67,594

Bridge was transferred on January 3, 1907


Washington Boulevard Bridge

     At this site in 1869, a tunnel for pedestrian and wagons was built.  It was the first tunnel under the Chicago River.   The contractor was J.L. Lake.  The tunnel was 1,605 feet long.  It extended from Franklin Street to Clinton Street.   Construction cost was $517,000.  It was built with masonry.

     Around 1884, the tunnel began leaking. It was closed.  In 1888, it was leased by the Western Chicago Railroad.    They renovated the tunnel for cable car servive.  It opened in 1890.

     When the flow of the Chicago River was reversed, the water level dropped.  The roof of the tunnel became exposed.  Several ships ran aground on it.  The tunnel was closed by the federal government in 1906. 

     A widened deepened tunnel was built of concrete. Contractor was George Jackson.

     The tunnel was reopened for street car service in 2011.  It was in use until 1953.



Washington Boulevard Bridge

     The first bridge was built at this site in 1875.  It was an iron swing bridge built by the American Bridge Company.  It was 157 feet long and 31.5 feet wide.  The next bridge was erected at this site in 1891. It was formerly the Madison Avenue Bridge over south branch of the Chicago River. It was a swing bridge.  It was demolished in 1907.


Under Surface Washington Boulevard Bridge

     Currently, this bridge averages 40 raises/year.

     Inspection 10/2011

Deck                               Condition.                Rating.        Fair  5 out 9

Superstructure            Condition                Rating         Poor 4 out of 9 

Substructure.              Condition.               Rating          Satisfactory  6 out of 9
Appraisal:    Structurally deficient

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