Cherry Avenue Bridge

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Cherry Avenue Bridge
Cherry Ave bridge west panorama 20100725.jpg
Cherry Avenue bridge from North Avenue road bridge
Coordinates 41°54′37.1″N87°39′19.9″W / 41.910306°N 87.655528°W / 41.910306; -87.655528 Coordinates: 41°54′37.1″N87°39′19.9″W / 41.910306°N 87.655528°W / 41.910306; -87.655528
CrossesNorth Branch Canal of the Chicago River
Locale Chicago
Heritage status Chicago Landmark
Designbob-tail swing bridge
Total length230 feet (70 m) [1]
Longest span134.5 feet (41.0 m) [1]
Designer Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway
Construction start1901
Construction end1902 [1]

The Cherry Avenue Bridge (North Avenue railroad bridge, or Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway, Bridge No. Z-2) 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. [2]

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.

Chicago city and county seat of Cook County, Illinois, United States

Chicago, officially the City of Chicago, is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Illinois and the third most populous city in the United States. With an estimated population of 2,705,994 (2018), it is also the most populous city in the Midwestern United States. Chicago is the county seat of Cook County, the second most populous county in the US, with a small portion of the northwest side of the city extending into DuPage County near O'Hare Airport. Chicago is the principal city of the Chicago metropolitan area, often referred to as Chicagoland. At nearly 10 million people, the metropolitan area is the third most populous in the nation.

Illinois American State

Illinois is a state in the Midwestern and Great Lakes regions of the United States. It has the fifth largest gross domestic product (GDP), the sixth largest population, and the 25th largest land area of all U.S. states. Illinois has been noted as a microcosm of the entire United States. With Chicago in northeastern Illinois, small industrial cities and immense agricultural productivity in the north and center of the state, and natural resources such as coal, timber, and petroleum in the south, Illinois has a diverse economic base, and is a major transportation hub. Chicagoland, Chicago's metropolitan area, encompasses over 65% of the state's population. The Port of Chicago connects the state to international ports via two main routes: from the Great Lakes, via the Saint Lawrence Seaway, to the Atlantic Ocean and from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River, via the Illinois Waterway to the Illinois River. The Mississippi River, the Ohio River, and the Wabash River form parts of the boundaries of Illinois. For decades, Chicago's O'Hare International Airport has been ranked as one of the world's busiest airports. Illinois has long had a reputation as a bellwether both in social and cultural terms and, through the 1980s, in politics.



Cherry Avenue bridge is located at 41°54′37.1″N87°39′19.9″W / 41.910306°N 87.655528°W / 41.910306; -87.655528 ; it runs in a north-south orientation, spanning the North Branch Canal of the Chicago River to provide railroad access to Goose Island, an industrial area in the Near North Side community area of Chicago. The railroad track across the bridge is a spur line of the Chicago Terminal Railroad, that branches off from the route of the Union Pacific mainline about 0.5 miles (0.80 km) north-west of the bridge. The railroad continues for about 0.5 miles (0.80 km) south on Goose Island. North Avenue (Illinois Route 64) runs east-west at the north end of the bridge, crossing the North Avenue Bridge over the north branch of the Chicago River about 300 feet (91 m) to the west.

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.

Near North Side, Chicago Community area in Chicago

The Near North Side is one of 77 defined community areas of Chicago, Illinois, United States. It is the northernmost of the three areas that constitute central Chicago, the others being the Loop and the Near South Side. The community area is located north and east of the Chicago River. To its east is Lake Michigan, and its northern boundary is the early 19th-century city limit of Chicago, North Avenue. Of the downtown community areas, the Near North Side has the second-largest total area after the Near West Side, the highest number of skyscrapers, and the largest population. With the exception of Goose Island and the remnants of Cabrini–Green, to the west, the Near North Side is known for its extreme affluence, typified by the Magnificent Mile, Gold Coast, Navy Pier, and its world-famous skyscrapers.

Chicago Terminal Railroad

The Chicago Terminal Railroad was a switching and terminal railroad that operated over former Milwaukee Road/Canadian Pacific and Chicago and North Western/Union Pacific trackage in northern Illinois. The railroad began its operations on January 2, 2007. The railroad rostered a total of three locomotive units, all of EMD design.


Previous bridge prior to demolition Cherry Avenue bridge 1901.jpg
Previous bridge prior to demolition

Goose Island is a man-made island on the north branch of the Chicago River that was formed in the 1850s by the digging of the North Branch Canal. [3] In 1871 the Chicago and Pacific Railroad started construction of a railroad from Goose Island through Elgin, Illinois to Byron, Illinois. [4] This company was absorbed into the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway in 1880. [5] The Cherry Avenue bridge was constructed in 1901–02 [1] by the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul to replace a 20-year-old bridge on the same location. [6] It spans the North Branch Canal of the Chicago River providing the only railroad access to Goose Island. [7]

Elgin, Illinois City in Illinois, United States

Elgin is a city in Cook and Kane counties in the northern part of the U.S. state of Illinois. Located roughly 35 mi (56 km) northwest of Chicago, it lies along the Fox River. As of 2017, the city had an estimated population of 112,456, making it the eighth-largest city in Illinois.

Byron, Illinois City in Illinois, United States

Byron is a city in Ogle County, Illinois, United States, probably best known as the location of the Byron Nuclear Generating Station, one of the last nuclear power plants commissioned in the United States. Byron is located in Byron Township, along the Rock River. The population was 3,753 at the 2010 census, up from 2,917 at the 2000 census. The town bills itself as the "Gateway to the Rock River Valley".

Cherry Avenue bridge as it appeared in 1999 before restoration Cherry Avenue Bridge HAER ILL-143-7.jpg
Cherry Avenue bridge as it appeared in 1999 before restoration

Railroad operation on Goose Island was taken over by the Soo Line Railroad in 1986, and then by the Chicago Terminal Railroad in January 2007. The bridge was purchased by the City of Chicago in 2008, [8] and restored in 2008–09 adding new decking and lights to enable safe pedestrian access. [9]

Soo Line Railroad American Class I Railroad

The Soo Line Railroad is the primary United States railroad subsidiary of the Canadian Pacific Railway, one of seven U.S. Class I railroads, controlled through the Soo Line Corporation. Although it is named for the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railroad (MStP&SSM), which was commonly known as the Soo Line after the phonetic spelling of Sault, it was formed in 1961 by the consolidation of that company with two other CP subsidiaries: The Duluth, South Shore and Atlantic Railroad, and the Wisconsin Central Railroad. It is also the successor to other Class I railroads, including the Minneapolis, Northfield and Southern Railway, and the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad. On the other hand, a large amount of mileage was spun off in 1987 to Wisconsin Central Ltd., now part of the Canadian National Railway. The Soo Line and the Delaware and Hudson Railway, the CP's other major subsidiary, presently do business as the Canadian Pacific Railway, and most equipment has been repainted into the CP scheme, but the U.S. Surface Transportation Board groups all of CP's U.S. subsidiaries under the Soo Line name for reporting purposes. The Minneapolis headquarters are located in the Canadian Pacific Plaza building, having moved from the nearby Soo Line Building.


Eastern elevation of the bridge Cherry Avenue Bridge elevation.png
Eastern elevation of the bridge

The bridge is one of two bob-tail swing bridges constructed by the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway on the North Branch of the Chicago River. [10] The bridge runs north-south, the pivot pier is on the shore on the north side of the channel with a 134.5-foot (41.0 m) long, 40-foot (12 m) heigh Pratt truss arm that spans the channel, and a 70-foot (21 m) arm that carries the 280,000-pound (130,000 kg) counter-weight 20 feet (6.1 m) above the tracks. [1] [6] The bridge is no longer operable, but when constructed it was able to swing to the east, to an angle of 82.5˚ when parallel to the dock wall. [1] The bridge was designed to carry a single railroad track, but also may originally have been intended for use by other vehicular traffic on Cherry Avenue. [1] A sidewalk is cantilevered from the east side of the bridge.

See also

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway, Bridge No. Z-2, Spanning North Branch Canal at North Cherry Avenue, Chicago, Cook County, IL". Historic American Engineering Record. Retrieved May 3, 2009.
  2. "CHICAGO LANDMARKS: Individual Landmarks and Landmark Districts designated as of January 1, 2008" (PDF). Commission on Chicago Landmarks. January 1, 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 27, 2008. Retrieved May 3, 2009.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  3. Duis, Perry (1998). Challenging Chicago: Coping With Everyday Life, 1837–1920. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. p. 95. ISBN   0-252-02394-3.
  4. Cary, John W (1892). The Organization and History of The Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway Company. Press of Cramer, Aikens, & Cramer. p. 253. Retrieved July 25, 2010.
  5. Duis, Perry (1998). Challenging Chicago. University of Illinois Press. p. 97. ISBN   0-252-02394-3.
  6. 1 2 "A Counterbalance Swing Bridge on the Chicago Milwaukee & St. Paul". The Railway Age. 33 (10): 290–291. March 2, 1902. Retrieved July 25, 2010.
  7. Holth, Nathan. "North Avenue Railroad Bridge". Historic Bridges of Michigan and Elsewhere. Retrieved May 3, 2009.
  8. Quinlan, Anne (August 4, 2008). "STB Finance Docket No. 35154" (PDF). Surface Transportation Board. Retrieved May 3, 2009.
  9. "Cherry Avenue Bridge". Rausch Construction Company. Archived from the original on May 5, 2010. Retrieved May 3, 2009.
  10. The other is bridge No. Z-6, downstream of the Cortland Street Drawbridge, see "Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway, Bridge No. Z-6, Spanning North Branch of Chicago River, South of C, Chicago, Cook County, IL". Historic American Engineering Record. Retrieved May 3, 2009.