North Avenue Bridge in Chicago

Photo of North Avenue Bridge in Chicago, Illinois

Airlifted pipes.

Posted to the Flickr Pool by 108021376@N07

Add your photos!

Royalty-free architecture stock photography

North Avenue Bridge

1200 West North Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, Lincoln Park 60622
Previous   Random   Next

Print this page   •   Share this page   •   Map This

Text by Wayne Lorentz

It's always the workhorses of Chicago that never get noticed. The bits of infrastructure that are so essential to our everyday lives that we forget they are there. The North Avenue Bridge is one of those forgettable structures. But not for much longer. The long-decaying bridge is being replaced by a new span. A span with a design that most cities would consider a showcase attraction. In Chicago's case, it will still cross the same barge-littered industrial backwater it always did, but this time it will do it with class.

The new North Avenue Bridge is both a suspension bridge, and a cable stay bridge. The center of the main span is held aloft by suspension cables, while the remainder of the roadway is supported by cables which radiate from the towers.

But there's more than simple form to this bridge. It is far more functional than the old one. The 1907 North Avenue Bridge had just one lane in each direction, though Chicago drivers often attempted to make four lanes out of the situation. The new bridge will actually have two full lanes each way, and will have the same clearance as the old drawbridge (technically a trunnion bascule bridge).

Quick Facts
    > The original North Avenue Bridge is considered an historic piece of engineering. The city of Chicago offered it to other cities, but none wanted it.
    > In designing this new bridge, the location and view of the Loop skyline was taken into consideration. The bridge attempts to maximize that view.
    > The clearance under the bridge is 18 feet.
    > The bridge deck is four feet thick.
    > 1907 - The North Avenue bridge is completed.
    > 1972 - The last time the North Avenue bridge was raised.
    > 2006 - Work begins on the new North Avenue Bridge.
    > 2007 - The new North Avenue Bridge is completed.
Did You Know?
    A plaque on the original bridge read: "1907
    Fred A. Busse - Mayor
    John J. Hanberg.
    Commissioner of Public Works. John Ericson, City Engineer.
    Thos. G. Pihlfeldt
    City Bridge Engineer.
    Alexander von Babo, Structural Designer."
Rate This Bridge
method='post' action='/Building.php?ID=1555#Rate'>Current rating:50% 70%  name='Rating' id='Rating' value='Praise' class='Plain'> name='Rating' id='Rating' value='Raze' class='Plain'>