Revised posting 11/27/2017
The Lake Shore Drive Bridge crosses the main channel of the Chicago River inside the locks separating Lake Michigan and the river. The current bridge is the only bridge at this site. Lake Shore Drive was also known as Erickson Drive and Field Boulevard. It was named Lake Shore Drive in 1946.
Planning of this structure began in 1926. Construction started in 1931. Funding ran out in 1932. The WPA provided funds in 1935. Project was completed in 1937. Cost of The project was $11 million. The bridge was dedicated by President Franklin Roosevelt in October, 1937. At completion, it was the largest and heaviest double leaf bascule bridge.
In addition to the main bridge, there was a single leaf bascule bridge traversing the Ogden Slip. This was a man made channel paralleling the Chicago River (North of the river). This was built by the Chicago Canal and Dock Company. This was used as a harbor and warehouse space. One of the warehouses on the slip was the Pugh Terminal.
The main bridge was a rivet-connected-Pratt Deck Truss,movable double bascule (fixed trunion) and approach spans: metal stronger (multi beam), fixed. This was a two level bridge. The lower level was originally planned for a railroad. There was one main span and three approach spans. The main span length is 264 feet. The structure length is 356 feet. Overall roadway width is 108 feet. Each bridge leaf weighs 6,420 tons. The bridge was dedicated as the Franklin Delano Memorial Bridge in 1982.
There are 4 impressive lock tender houses.
The bridge over the Ogden Slip had similar appearance in its deck trusses and bridge tender houses as the main bridge.
Bridge builders include: Al. Johnson Construction Company, M.E White Company, Warner Construction Company, Paschen Brothers, Fitzsimmons– Connel Dredge and Dock Company, Great Lakes Dredge Company, Ketler–Elliot Company, Mackie–Thompson–Tamm, Bethlehem Steel Company, W.E. O’Neill Construction Company, American Bridge Company, Oscar Daniels Company, Pierce Electric Company, Thomas McQueen Company. Joseph Srauss was a consulting engineer.
The upper level of the bridge originally had a pedestrian walk. It had unique railings. The walk and rails were lost during a bridge widening project. Originally, there was not a pedestrian walk on the lower level. This was added on the east side. It is a sidewalk that also carries the lakefront trail. It is extremely busy. One proposal was to build a new walkway adjacent to the bridge. Another proposal was to widen the existing sidewalk.
The bridge under went an extensive rebuilding project in 1987. The original southern s shaped curve was straightened. The lower deck was converted for auto use. It serves as a feeder for Randolph Street, Wacker Drive, Illinois Street and Grand Avenue. The Ogden Slip bascule bridge was removed and converted to a fixed structure.
Bridge Inspection as of 11/2012
Deck. Condition. Rating. Fair. 5 out of 9
Superstructure Condition. Rating. Satisfactory. 6 out of 9
Superstructure. Condition. Rating. Satisfactory 6 out of 9
Appraisal. Functionally obsolete
Photos added 4/21/2018