Canal Street Bridge over the South Branch of the Chicago River

     Completed 12/10/2017.

The Canal Street Bridge (500 West; 2201 South) runs North South over the South Branch of the Chicago River 3.8 miles from the river mouth.  This is the fourth bridge at this site.  Construction began in 1941.  It was suspended in 1943.  It resumed in 1946 and was completed in 1948.  The bridge is a metal rivet-connected Pratt Pony Truss movable: double leaf bascule (fixed trunnion) and approach spans ; metal stringer (multi beam), fixed.  Main span length is 254 feet.  Structure length measures 350 feet.  Roadway width is 44 feet.  There is one main span and four approach spans.  There is steel grate hardware.  There is electric motor power system.

     Contractors include:

Design  Division of Bridges and Viaducts  City of Chicago

Superstructure Contractor  Mount Vernon Bridge Company Mount Vernon, Ohio

Substructure Contractor Simpson Construction

Bridge cost. $1,455,000.

The bridge was painted white for many years.  In 2010, it was painted maroon.


Bridge Tender House Canal Street Bridge

     The First bridge at this was built in 1890.  It was a Swing Howe Truss wood and iron hand operated bridge  The bridge was designed by Abraham Gottlieb, civil engineer.  Superstructure Contractor was A. Gottlieb Bridge Company.  Substructure Contractor was Chicago Dredge and Dock Company.

     There were three subscribers to the bridge:

Shoenhofen Brewing Company   $3000

Silver Creek and Morris Coal Company. $2000

Conrad Seipp Brewing Company $1000.

Total construction costs were  $22,362.

     This bridge was plagued with problems from the beginning.  It was condemned as an obstruction to navigation by the U.S. Government.  It was removed and transferred to Belmont Avenue in 1892.


Both Bridge Tender Houses Canal Street Bridge


Bridge Plaque Canal Street Bridge

     The second Canal Street Bridge opened in June, 1893.  It was a folding steel electric powered bascule bridge.  The only other bridge of this type was at Weed Street.  It was patented by Captain William Harman on 6/5/1888.  The bridge had a 20 foot wide roadway.  It had two 6 foot sidewalks.  Each bridge leaf had hinges at the rear and the midpoint.  As the midpoint hinge rose, two segments folded together. It was reported that the bridge opened and closed in 15 to 20. seconds.  

     The bridge was designed by William Harman.  It was built by Shalter and Schnigau.  Cost was $46,845.

     Unfortunately, the bridge had mechanical issues.  It was repeatedly out of service.  It suffered two boat collisions in 1900.  It was forced out of service for an extended period.  

     The bridge was removed In 1903


Canal  Street Bridge


Bridge Tender House   Canal Street Bridge

     The third Canal Street Bridge was built in 1903.  It was built by the Sanitary District.  The bridge design selected was a Scherzer Rolling Lift Bascule.  The superstructure contractor was the American Bridge Company. Substructure Contractor was Lydon and Drews Company.  Construction cost was $128,000.

     In 1906, the following changes were made: 1) Bridge was redecked; 2) sidewalks were replaced; )  the original Westinghouse electric motors were replaced with GE motors.  

     In 1912, one of the bridge’s leaf moved forward approximately one foot toward the river.  At the time, a temporary solution was developed.   The ultimate solution to this problem was reached in 1935.  It consisted of: 1) sole and track plates were replaced; 2) reinforced concrete slab roadway was installed on the rear of each bridge leaf; 3) rest of the bridge deck was replaced with asphalt planking.The

     The bridge was removed In 1941.


View from the Canal Street Bridge    Cermak Avenue Bridge is seen


View from the Canal Street Bridge.  Cermak Avenue Bridge seen


View from the Canal Street Bridge.    Cermak Avenue Bridge seen


Canal Street Bridge


Canal Street Bridge View.   Amtrak Bridge is seen


Canal Street Bridge


Canal Street Bridge


Canal Street Bridge


Canal Street Bridge


Canal Street Bridge as seen from the Cermak Avenue Bridge

Bridge Inspection (12/2012)

Deck.                            Condition.                               Rating.                       Good.               7 out of 9

Superstructure.       Condition.                                Rating                         Good.               7 out of 9

Substructure            Condition.                                Rating.                         Satisfactory  6 out of 9

Sufficiency  Rating.       76 out of 100

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