Wednesday, May 21, 2014

1899-1992+1998 Romeoville 135th Street Bridge

(Bridge Hunter3D Satellite)

Update: The Illinois Flickr Album contains some more pictures of this old bridge.

This street is also called East Romeo Road.

The current location as a trail bridge.
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The original location as the 135th Street Bridge. Note the sharp right-hand turn on the right (East) side of the bridge.
AlphaPublications, p1

Jerry Jackson commented on his post

In 1998, the MWRD moved the bobtail swing bridge a few hundred feet to be a trail bridge when the high bridge was built across the Sanitary and Ship Canal, SanteFe tracks, and I&M Canal.

Joe Balynas has turned taking pictures of a bridge into an art form: elevation, portal.

Almost from where I took a picture of the old bridge, I turned around and took a picture of the North side of the high bridge that replaced it:
The white structure near the right side behind the bride is a coal unloading gantry for the power station that is south of the bridge.

Near the bridge was a sign explaining the retirement of the old bridge:

The text is:
The 135th Street bridge is the only remaining example of this type of bridge in the state of Illinois. Built in 1899 to cross the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, it was uniquely designed to allow passage of large vessels along the waterway.
This two-span bridge was able to pivot on a steel turntable supported by a masonry pier; thus the name "swing bridge" as it swung across the water to the opposite ank. The longer east span was the part that actually crossed the canal, and the shorter west span functioned as the counterweight arm.
The trusses, which are the supporting framework. were constructed out of steel and extended up and over the bridge. Located within the trusses is an overhead pilot house where the movement of the bridge was controlled.
The bridge was a busy, acvtive bridge up until its removal and relocation; After its closing in 1990 due to structural problems, it was moved to Centennial Trail for preservation.
 Let's Take a Closer Look
  •  Total length of bridge - 302 feet, East span - 204 feet, West span - 98 feet
  • Total width of bridge - 26 feet, Road width - 18 feet, Walkway width - 5 feet
  • Height from bridge deck to highest point of truss - 40 feet
  • Statistics for 1989-1990: Number  of closing per day - 7.7, Average closing duration - 15 minutes, Average vehicle crossings per day - 9000.
 A close up of the Jan 12, 1948, picture from the Lewis University Canal and Regional History Collection.

And then I went across the bridge from the west end to the east end. Because the SantaFe route closely follows the canal, it has very few grade crossings because there are very few roads going across the canal. So this is the only place so far where the trains whistle for a crossing. So it is easy to catch pictures of trains from this location as in this picture of the northeastt quadrant of the crossing of the bridge and the canal. But are they still whistling for the grade crossing that was removed in 1990 when the old swing bridge was retired?

I digitally zoomed in on the engines because this is the first time I've seen a Canadian Pacific engine in a BNSF train. The consist was double-high container cars.

The oil refinery is currently owned by Citgo. It was owned by Union Oil in 1984 when an explosion hurled a 34-ton petroleum tower more than half a mile. Fortunately, it landed in a vacant lot beyond some houses. A retrospective written 10 years later reported that the cause was "faulty welding work performed when a section of the tank was replaced in 1974."

The view of the northwest quadrant is on an extreme angle to catch the old bridge in the background and the blue and white sign in the lower-left corner. The view down the canal on the west side is "just" trees.
Below is a closeup of the sign. This reminds me that the Asian Carp Barrier sign said the electric dispersal barrier started at 135th street.

 The southwest quadrant is a coal-fired power plant:

The beam in the upper-right corner is part of the coal-unloading gantry that we saw above in the second picture of this page. It is hard to see, but there is a second gantry parked at the other end of the coal storage yard. Notice the white "shed" just to the right of the middle smoke stack.

(The remaining photos concerning the power plant have been moved to the Will County (Romeoville) Power Plant notes.)

Further east, the bridge crosses the I&M Canal.

Gary Ekkert shared
I know all of you Romeoville die hard will remember this Bridge?

Jerry Jackson provided three photos concerning this bridge in a post.

I believe that this is a crop of a Thomas Kidd photo.
[Just out of the frame to the left is the bridge. This clearly shows the dramatic turn the traffic had to make on the east side of the bridge.]

You can see this sign in the ramp picture above.

The grade separation between the end of the ramp and the SantaFe tracks is why the road crossing was south of the road's route where it still crosses today.
1954 Romeoville Quadrangle @ 1:24,000

I visited the bridge again on March 13, 2020. After taking some overview photos, this time I walked across the bridge taking detail shots both going and coming. The first set of machinery photos were taken on the west side and the second set is on the east side.
20200313 1684

This shot was back on the West side to show what the above looked like when it still had its covers.

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