Saturday, December 3, 2016

Torrence Avenue and Aban/C&WI Lift Bridges over Calumet River

20150720 3319, south portals
Torrence Avenue is on the left,
C&WI is on the right
(Bridge Hunter Torrence, Bridge Hunter C&WIHistoric Bridges Torrence, Historic Bridges C&WISatellite)

Chicago and Western Indiana was the terminal railroad for Dearborn Station. This bridge carried the eastern branch of the C&WI to the Indiana state line where the tenant railroads of Monon, C&O, Erie, and Wabash connected with the C&WI to run their passenger trains to Dearborn. This branch, and this bridge, was abandoned when Dearborn Station quit serving passenger trains.

A lift bridge was considered too ugly for roads in the downtown area, so Chicago developed the dual bascule bridge design. But a lift bridge was considered OK for Torrence Avenue in this industrial area. Plus the needed bascule span would have been 80 feet longer than any current bascule design and cost twice as much as the lift bridge. [CLB]

The machinery for this bridge was placed in the tower rather than the normal practice of placing it in the middle of the span. [CityOfChicago]
From Historic Bridges
The C&WI lift bridge was proceeded by a Strauss Bascule bridge, which was proceeded by a swing bridge. I wonder why the Strauss bascule bridge was replaced. His designs normally last until the present. Judging from the picture, it appears a longer span was needed for navigation.

Torrence was temporarily rerouted across the C&WI bridge so that they could refurbish the road bridge during 2011-2013 while keeping one of the few north/south arteries in this area open. That refurbish work also repainted the C&WI bridge.

North portals

Driving south, you can see the blue South Shore Bridge framed by the far portal
I was on 122nd St. taking pictures of the NS/NKP Bridge when I noticed this 3/4 view of these bridges over the Heron Pond Park. Those are the NS/NKP tracks in the foreground.

This posting was my motivation for finding my pictures and writing this post.

ChicagoLoopBridges posted
The only CDOT vertical lift bridge marks 80 years on December 2nd. Learn more at:
[I notice the formal name is the Henry Ford II Bridge. No doubt because of the big Ford assembly plant just south of it. Judging from the first picture on the CLB page, the parking lot west of the north portal is public access. I had seen that parking lat in satellite images. But in this post 9/11 era, I was too chicken to turn on the access road to that area. Maybe I'll try it the next time I'm near that bridge.]
Michael A. Paus commented on the above posting
[Headed towards Lake Michigan.]
Scott Griffith posted
Any idea location?
Bob Lalich The train is EB, just south of the Calumet River on the C&WI, roughly 126th and Torrence. The bascule bridge was replaced with a lift bridge around 1971.

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