Calumet: First and Forever

Chapter 2: Calumet-Sag Channel and Little Calumet River

Road Bridges

CFF-Photo 2.6.1
CFF-Photo 2.6.1

Photo 2.6.1. August 29, 1924. Generally, road bridges over the Calumet-Sag Channel were either the steel plate girder type or a three-span truss type. The girder type was used where the channel walls were vertical and the abutments are integral with the channel wall. The Chicago Street bridge in Blue Island, looking east, is a typical example of the girder type. (MWRD photo 11130)

CFF-Photo 2.6.2
CFF-Photo 2.6.2

Photo 2.6.2. December 1, 1916. Where the channel cross-section is trapezoidal a three-span truss bridge was typical, as seen in the Worth Road Bridge, looking west. The truss bridges have separate abutments and piers for foundations. (MWRD photo 5701)

CFF-Photo 2.6.3
CFF-Photo 2.6.3

Photo 2.6.3. May 17, 1916. The first step in constructing a new bridge is to build a diversion of the roadway around the new bridge site. A temporary bridge may be necessary if channel excavation has begun. At left, a temporary bridge on a timber trestle for Archer Road is open to traffic, where channel excavation has already begun. St. James Church is in the background, (MWRD photo 5462)

CFF-Photo 2.6.4
CFF-Photo 2.6.4

Photo 2.6.4. July 6, 1916. Support for the center span of the three-span bridge and the channel end of the two side spans is provided by piers constructed near the channel water line and founded on shafts to bedrock. Concrete is being poured into the south pier forms for the Worth Road Bridge. (MWRD photo 5492)

CFF-Photo 2.6.5
CFF-Photo 2.6.5

Photo 2.6.5. September 20, 1916. In the trapezoidal cross-section channel, abutments for the truss bridges were constructed at the top of the channel side slope as shown for the Burr Oak Road east abutment, looking northwest in section 9. Where soil was unstable, piles in stiff clay or piers to bedrock were used to support the abutments. (MWRD photo 5596)

CFF-Photo 2.6.6
CFF-Photo 2.6.6

Photo 2.6.6. August 9, 1916. Looking south from the north bank where Homan Avenue will cross, two center piers and the south abutment are complete. District surveyors are checking the horizontal alignment and vertical elevations before seats for the structural steel trusses are installed. (MWRD photo 5528)

CFF-Photo 2.6.7
CFF-Photo 2.6.7

Photo 2.6.7. Truss bridges are erected using a stiff leg derrick starting at one end. Temporary struts are used to support cantilevered sections. Structural steel for the bridge was shipped to the Worth rail station by the fabricator, and hauled to the site and erected by Green, the channel contractor. Looking north, September 20, 1916, erection is about half completed. (MWRD photo 5598)

CFF-Photo 2.6.8
CFF-Photo 2.6.8

Photo 2.6.8. By December 2, 1916, the Worth Road deck has been installed and the bridge is open. The timber deck lasted about five years. Sidewalks were not provided on roads outside of Blue Island where foot travel was infrequent. (MWRD photo 5702)

CFF-Photo 2.6.9
CFF-Photo 2.6.9

Photo 2.6.9. Archer Road crosses the new channel on a fixed span riveted steel plate girder bridge in section 1. Looking west, November 19, 1917, Heyworth has not completed the new bridge and part of the temporary bridge appears through the bridge opening. (MWRD photo 6288)

CFF-Photo 2.6.10
CFF-Photo 2.6.10

Photo 2.6.10. September 8, 1915, Bach Road Bridge, a three-span truss bridge in section 4, looking west. Robinson has completed the bridge and it is open for traffic. (MWRD 5169)

CFF-Photo 2.6.11
CFF-Photo 2.6.11

Photo 2.6.11. September 8, 1915, McLaughry Road Bridge, a three-span truss bridge in section 5, looking west. Green has not completed channel excavation, but the bridge is open to traffic. (MWRD photo 5172)

CFF-Photo 2.6.12
CFF-Photo 2.6.12

Photo 2.6.12. October 2, 1922. After seven years, the timber deck of the Eighty-Sixth Road Bridge in section 5 needed to be replaced. Looking north, the old deck has been removed and the bridge is ready for new planks. (MWRD photo 9536)

CFF-Photo 2.6.13
CFF-Photo 2.6.13

Photo 2.6.13. February 14, 1922, looking north over the deck of the Piper Road Bridge in section 8, another three-span truss bridge. Due to the limited number of District police officers, strict enforcement of the speed limit was rare. (MWRD photo 8785)

CFF-Photo 2.6.14
CFF-Photo 2.6.14

Photo 2.6.14. February 14, 1922. Burr Oak Road was more heavily traveled and crossed the channel at a 450 angle in section 9. Thus, the bridge was more robust and longer. Looking east, the through truss spanned the channel and the pony trusses spanned the channel banks. (MWRD photo 8786.5)

CFF-Photo 2.6.15
CFF-Photo 2.6.15

Photo 2.6.15. February 9, 1917. Anticipating the need for a temporary dam in the channel led to the design of more robust abutments for the Forty-Eighth Avenue, renamed Cicero Avenue, bridge. Looking west, a single truss spans the channel in section 10. (MWRD photo 5765)

CFF-Photo 2.6.16
CFF-Photo 2.6.16

Photo 2.6.16. September 15, 1916, looking southeast at the Homan Avenue truss bridge in section 12. (MWRD photo 5587)

CFF-Photo 2.6.17
CFF-Photo 2.6.17

Photo 2.6.17. The Kedzie Avenue Bridge in section 12 is a single span over the channel. The abutments are vertical because the walled channel begins at this point and continues to the east end of the channel. Looking southeast, August 9, 1916, the truss is complete, but the bridge deck and approach roads are unfinished. (MWRD photo 5529)

CFF-Photo 2.6.18
CFF-Photo 2.6.18

Photo 2.6.18. The Francisco Avenue Bridge in section 12, like Kedzie, is a single span truss bridge over the channel with vertical walls. Both roads have lighter traffic, therefore not requiring steel plate girder bridges. Looking southeast, December 5, 1916, backfill is being placed behind the channel walls. (MWRD photo 5718)

CFF-Photo 2.6.19
CFF-Photo 2.6.19

Photo 2.6.19. July 15, 1972, Ann Street Bridge in section 13, looking south over the bridge deck. Ann Street was the only street west of Western Avenue in the City of Blue Island and had residential neighborhoods on both sides of the channel. (MWRD photo 9872)

CFF-Photo 2.6.20
CFF-Photo 2.6.20

Photo 2.6.20. From the Rock Island Railroad embankment looking west on a gloomy May 16, 1917, the Western Avenue Bridge over the new channel remains under construction in section 13. Western Avenue is the main north-south street and has a trolley line and two sidewalks, hence the wider three-girder bridge. (MWRD photo 5800)

CFF-Photo 2.6.21
CFF-Photo 2.6.21

Photo 2.6.21. July 15, 1923. The Division Street Bridge in section 13, looking south over the bridge deck. The City of Blue Island required the District to include sidewalks on all road bridges over the channel within city limits. (MWRD photo 9879)

CFF-Photo 2.6.22
CFF-Photo 2.6.22

Photo 2.6.22. February 5, 1919. Looking east at the Ashland Avenue Bridge in section 14. The riveted steel plate girder spans the new channel. The temporary bridge trestle appears through the bridge opening. (MWR photo 6877)

CFF-Photo 2.6.23
CFF-Photo 2.6.23

Photo 2.6.23. Access to the Blue Island Lock from Vermont Street via Throop Street crosses this riveted steel plate girder bridge. Looking east on August 29, 1924, the bridge crosses the lock structure west of the west lock gates in section 14. The lock footbridge at the east end of the lock structure appears beneath the access bridge. Two wet weather discharge outfalls are in the north wall on the left. (MWRD photo 11134)