Michigan Avenue Bridge

Michigan Avenue Bridge
Michigan Ave Bridge 20100912.jpg
Michigan Avenue Bridge viewed from the west
Coordinates41°53′19.9″N 87°37′27.7″W / 41°53′19.9″N 87°37′27.7″W / 41.888861; -87.624361
CarriesMichigan Avenue
CrossesChicago River
LocaleChicago
Official nameDuSable Bridge
Heritage statusChicago Landmark
ID number000016612026812
Characteristics
DesignDouble-leaf, double-deck, fixed counterweight, trunnion bascule bridge
Total length399 feet (122 m)[1]
Width91.75 feet (27.97 m)[2]
Longest span256 feet (78 m) between trunnions
220 feet (67 m) between piers[3]
Clearance below16 feet (4.9 m)
History
DesignerBureau of Engineering, Chicago Department of Public Works
Construction startApril 15, 1918[4]
Construction end1920
OpenedMay 14, 1920[4]
Statistics
Daily traffic37900 (upper deck)
11700 (lower deck)[5]

The Michigan Avenue Bridge (officially DuSable Bridge) is a bascule bridge that carries Michigan Avenue across the main stem of the Chicago River in downtown Chicago, Illinois, United States. The bridge was proposed in the early 20th century as part of a plan to link Chicago's south side and north side parks with a grand boulevard. Construction of the bridge started in 1918, it opened to traffic in 1920, and decorative work was completed in 1928. The bridge provides passage for vehicles and pedestrians on two levels; it is an example of a fixed trunnion bascule bridge, which is also known as a "Chicago style bascule bridge". The bridge is included in the Michigan–Wacker Historic District and has been designated as a Chicago Landmark.

The location is significant in the early history of Chicago. Events from the city's past are commemorated with sculptures and plaques on the bridge, and exhibits in the McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum—housed in one of the bridge tender houses—detail the history of the Chicago River.

Location

1945
2010
Aerial view of the bridge, looking south along Michigan Avenue, 1945 (left) and 2008 (right)

The Michigan Avenue Bridge has a north–south orientation, spanning the main stem of the Chicago River between the Near North Side and Loop community areas of Chicago.[6] Its northern portal lies at the foot of the Magnificent Mile, between the Wrigley Building and Tribune Tower. Its southern portal is at the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive, overlooked by the London Guarantee Building and 333 North Michigan. The neighboring bridges are Columbus Drive Bridge to the east and Wabash Avenue Bridge to the west.

The bridge is situated in a historically significant area.[7] The northern end of the bridge covers part of the Jean Baptiste Point Du Sable Homesite,[n 1] which is commemorated by a National Historic plaque in Pioneer Court. The southern half of the bridge passes over the site of Fort Dearborn, which was constructed in 1803.[n 2] The Fort is commemorated by a large relief above the entrance of the London Guarantee Building, and brass markers positioned in the sidewalks on the south side of the bridge delineate the posited outline of the original blockhouse.[10]

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