Canal Street railroad bridge

Last updated
Canal Street railroad bridge
2014-05-25 7356x4904 chicago pennsylvania railroad bridge.jpg
Southbound Amtrak train crossing the South Branch Chicago River
Coordinates 41°51′20.3″N87°38′13.2″W / 41.855639°N 87.637000°W / 41.855639; -87.637000 Coordinates: 41°51′20.3″N87°38′13.2″W / 41.855639°N 87.637000°W / 41.855639; -87.637000
Crosses Chicago River
Locale Chicago
Official namePennsylvania Railroad, Canal Street Railroad Bridge
Heritage status Chicago Landmark
Characteristics
Design vertical-lift bridge
Longest span272.8 feet (83.1 m) [1]
History
Designer Waddell & Harrington
Construction startSeptember 4, 1913 [2]
Construction endJuly 30, 1914 [2]

The Canal Street railroad bridge (or Pennsylvania Railroad bridge) is a vertical-lift bridge across the south branch of the Chicago River in Chicago, Illinois. It was designated a Chicago Landmark on December 12, 2007. [3]

Vertical-lift bridge movable bridge in which a span rises vertically while remaining parallel with the deck

A vertical-lift bridge or just lift bridge is a type of movable bridge in which a span rises vertically while remaining parallel with the deck.

Chicago River System of rivers and canals running through the city of Chicago

The Chicago River is a system of rivers and canals with a combined length of 156 miles (251 km) that runs through the city of Chicago, including its center. Though not especially long, the river is notable because it is one of the reasons for Chicago's geographic importance: the related Chicago Portage is a link between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River Basin, and ultimately the Gulf of Mexico.

Contents

Construction

The present bridge was constructed for the Pennsylvania Railroad to replace a two-track swing bridge at the same location. The necessity to allow both continued use of the swing bridge and unimpeded river traffic during building work complicated construction of the bridge. The chosen solution was to construct the bridge in the raised position above the old bridge, then demolish the old bridge once construction was completed. The bridge was designed by Waddell & Harrington, and fabricated and erected by the Pennsylvania Steel Company. [2]

Pennsylvania Railroad Former American Class I railroad

The Pennsylvania Railroad was an American Class I railroad that was established in 1846 and was headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was so named because it was established in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Swing bridge movable bridge that has a vertical locating pin and support ring about which the turning span can pivot horizontally

A swing bridge is a movable bridge that has as its primary structural support a vertical locating pin and support ring, usually at or near to its center of gravity, about which the turning span can then pivot horizontally as shown in the animated illustration to the right. Small swing bridges as found over canals may be pivoted only at one end, opening as would a gate, but require substantial underground structure to support the pivot.

Waddell & Harrington

Waddell & Harrington was an American engineering company that designed bridges from 1907 to 1915. It was formed in 1907 as a partnership of John Alexander Low Waddell (1854–1938) and John Lyle Harrington (1868–1942) and was based in Kansas City, Missouri, but had offices in Portland, Oregon, and Vancouver, British Columbia. The company designed more than 30 vertical-lift bridges for highways and railroads.

Construction of the south tower began on September 4, 1913. When the two 185-foot (56 m) towers were completed, falsework for the main span was constructed in a fan shape that allowed the main span to be constructed in the raised position 130 feet (40 m) above the river. The bridge was built from steel and metal. [4]

Falsework Temporary structures used in construction site

Falsework consists of temporary structures used in construction to support a permanent structure until its construction is sufficiently advanced to support itself. For arches, this is specifically called centering. Falsework includes temporary support structures for formwork used to mold concrete in the construction of buildings, bridges, and elevated roadways.

Operation

The bridge carries two railroad tracks across the Chicago River at an angle of about 40 degrees to the center line of the river. Upon completion, the main span could be raised 111 feet (34 m) in about 45 seconds. [2] By 1916, each day the bridge was crossed by about 300 trains, and was raised for river traffic about 75 times. [5]

Trivia

When it was constructed in 1914, its 1500-ton main span was the heaviest of any vertical lift bridge in the United States. [4] It is the only vertical-lift bridge across the Chicago River.

See also

Related Research Articles

Allegheny Portage Railroad United States historic place

The Allegheny Portage Railroad was the first railroad constructed through the Allegheny Mountains in central Pennsylvania, United States; it operated from 1834 to 1854 as the first transportation infrastructure through the gaps of the Allegheny that connected the midwest to the eastern seaboard across the barrier range of the Allegheny Front. Approximately 36 miles (58 km) long overall, both ends connected to the Pennsylvania Canal, and the system was primarily used as a portage railway, haulting river boats and barges over the divide between the Ohio and the Susquehanna Rivers.

Bascule bridge moveable bridge using a counterweight to balance a span through its upward swing to let boats move underneath

A bascule bridge is a moveable bridge with a counterweight that continuously balances a span, or "leaf", throughout its upward swing to provide clearance for boat traffic. It may be single- or double-leafed.

Aerial Lift Bridge transporter bridge in Duluth, Minnesota

The Aerial Lift Bridge, earlier known as the Aerial Bridge or Aerial Ferry Bridge, is a landmark in the port city of Duluth, Minnesota. The span began life in 1905 as the United States' first transporter bridge: Only one other was ever constructed in the country, Sky Ride in Chicago. The span was converted in 1929–1930 to a vertical-lift bridge — also rather uncommon, although there are six such bridges along Ontario's Welland Canal — and continues to operate today. The bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 22, 1973. The United States Army Corps of Engineers maintains a nearby maritime museum.

Goose Island (Chicago) human settlement in Chicago, Illinois, United States of America

Goose Island is a 160 acres (0.65 km2) artificial island in Chicago, Illinois, formed by the North Branch of the Chicago River on the west and the North Branch Canal on the east. It is about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) long and 0.5 miles (0.80 km) across at its widest point.

John Alexander Low Waddell Canadian advisor to Japan

John Alexander Low Waddell was an American civil engineer and prolific bridge designer, with more than a thousand structures to his credit in the United States, Canada, as well as Mexico, Russia, China, Japan, and New Zealand. Waddell’s work set standards for elevated railroad systems and helped develop materials suitable for large span bridges. His most important contribution was the development of the steam-powered high-lift bridge. His design was first used in 1893 for Chicago's South Halsted Street Lift-Bridge over the Chicago River; he went on to design more than 100 other movable bridges, and the company he founded continues to make movable bridges of various types. Waddell was a widely respected writer on bridge design, and an advocate of quality training of engineers. Many of Waddell's surviving bridges are now considered historic landmarks.

Delair Bridge railroad bridge

The Delair Bridge is a railroad bridge with a vertical-lift section that crosses the Delaware River between Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Pennsauken Township, New Jersey, just south of the Betsy Ross Bridge. The two-track bridge is part of Conrail Shared Assets Operations and is jointly used by Norfolk Southern Railway and CSX Transportation freight trains, as well as by the New Jersey Transit Atlantic City Line service.

Burlington Rail Bridge

The Burlington Bridge is a vertical-lift railroad bridge across the Mississippi River between Burlington, Iowa, and Gulf Port, Illinois, United States. It is currently owned by BNSF Railway and carries two tracks which are part of BNSF's Chicago–Denver main line.

Harlem River Lift Bridge bridge across the Harlem River

The Harlem River Lift Bridge is a vertical lift bridge carrying the Metro-North Railroad's Hudson Line, Harlem Line, and New Haven Line across the Harlem River between the boroughs of Manhattan and the Bronx in New York City. The average weekday ridership on the lines is 265,000.

North Avenue Bridge

The North Avenue Bridge can refer to one of three bridges that has carried North Avenue over the North Branch of the Chicago River on the north side of Chicago, Illinois. A center-pier swing bridge built in 1877 was replaced in 1907 by a bascule bridge, allowing river traffic more room for maneuvering in and out of the North Canal, just north of Goose Island.

ASB Bridge bridge in Kansas City, Missouri

The Armour-Swift-Burlington (ASB) Bridge, also known as the North Kansas City Bridge and the LRC Bridge, is a rail crossing over the Missouri River in Kansas City, Missouri that formerly handled car traffic.

Fourteenth Street Bridge (Ohio River) Railroad bridge over the Ohio River between Louisville, Kentucky, and Clarksville, Indiana

The Fourteenth Street Bridge, also known as the Ohio Falls Bridge, Pennsylvania Railroad Bridge, Conrail Railroad Bridge or Louisville and Indiana (L&I) Bridge, is a truss drawbridge that spans the Ohio River, between Louisville, Kentucky and Clarksville, Indiana.

Kinzie Street railroad bridge

The Chicago and North Western Railway's Kinzie Street railroad bridge is a single leaf bascule bridge across the north branch of the Chicago River in downtown Chicago, Illinois. At the time of its opening in 1908 it was the world's longest and heaviest bascule bridge. Previous bridges on the same site included the first bridge to cross the Chicago River, Chicago's first railroad bridge, and one of the first all-steel bridges in the United States.

Hill to Hill Bridge

The Hill to Hill Bridge is a road crossing of the Lehigh River linking the south and north sides of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Completed in 1924, the bridge carries Pennsylvania Route 378 from Wyandotte Street on the city's south side to a series of ramps and viaducts on the north side. It replaced a two-lane covered bridge and eliminated several grade crossings of three railroads on the two banks of the Lehigh River. The Hill to Hill Bridge is located in the Central Bethlehem Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972, with a Boundary Increase in 1988.

Cherry Avenue Bridge bridge in United States of America

The Cherry Avenue Bridge is an asymmetric bob-tail swing bridge in Chicago, Illinois that carries the Chicago Terminal Railroad, pedestrians, and cyclists across the North Branch Canal of the Chicago River. It was constructed in 1901–02 by the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway, and it is a rare example of this type of bridge; it was designated a Chicago Landmark on December 12, 2007.

Ottawa Rail Bridge

The Ottawa Rail Bridge is a railroad bridge spanning the Illinois River in the municipality of Ottawa, LaSalle County, Illinois. The first rail crossing on this site was constructed in 1871 by the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, along a route leased from the Ottawa, Oswego and Fox River Valley Railroad between Ottawa and Streator, Illinois. The current bridge was constructed in 1898 by the King Bridge Company and altered in 1932 to include a vertical-lift span designed by Waddell & Harrington. The Illinois Railway now operates trains over the bridge on its Ottawa Branch between Streator and Montgomery, Illinois.

Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway, Bridge No. 6

Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway, Bridge No. 6 is a steel vertical-lift bridge consisting of two parallel spans, carrying two tracks each, across the Calumet River in Chicago, Illinois, United States. The structure is currently owned by Norfolk Southern Railway but disused and kept in a raised position.

References

  1. Holth, Nathan. "Canal Street Railroad Bridge". Historic Bridges of Michigan and Elsewhere. Archived from the original on 2009-03-28. Retrieved 2009-04-30.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Smith, W. L.; Priest, W. W. (1915). "The Design and Erection of the Pennsylvania Lift Bridge No. 458 Over the South Branch of the Chicago River". Journal of the Western Society of Engineers. Chicago, IL: Western Society of Engineers. XX: 478–500. Retrieved 2009-04-30.
  3. "CHICAGO LANDMARKS: Individual Landmarks and Landmark Districts designated as of January 1, 2008" (PDF). Commission on Chicago Landmarks. 2008-01-01. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-02-27. Retrieved 2009-05-01.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  4. 1 2 Alexander, Frances; Fitzsimons, Gray; Nicolay, John; Brucken, Carolyn (1992). "Pennsylvania Railroad, South Branch Chicago River Bridge" (PDF). Historic American Engineering Record. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress. p. 1. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-05-08. Retrieved 2014-05-07.
  5. Waddell, James Alexander Low (1916). Bridge Engineering. 1. New York: John Wiley & Sons Inc. p. 734. Retrieved 2009-04-30.