Thursday, June 23, 2016

Two NYC Bridges over the Kankakee River in Kankakee, IL

(Bridge Hunter Belt, Bridge Hunter K&S, no Historic Bridges)

The Kankakee Belt was part of the NYC. The NYC also controlled the Big Four, which operated the Kankakee & Seneca. So NYC had two different routes going east/west through Kankakee, IL that crossed the Kankakee River on the west side of town. The Kankakee Belt route is now used by Norfolk Southern. (Update: I already had a posting on the Belt bridge.)

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I followed the NYC tracks from their junction with the IC by following the roads west and east as I was forced to turn. I ended up at the end of Stone Street where I added a mark on the above satellite image. You can see the deck girders of the Kankakee Belt track going across Kennedy Drive and the river. I then backtracked to get onto Kennedy Drive (US-52). Driving north I saw a little park by the river but not soon enough to safely make a left-hand turn into it. So I continued up to River Place where I could safely turn around and go back and turn into that park. While on River Place, I took a picture of the north elevation of the bridge.

I parked the van and walked along the sandy/muddy "beach" to get a shot of the south elevation.

Using GIMP to crank up the exposure by 1.5 stops.

Note the Belt route has five piers. Let's number the Belt piers from right to left (east to west). The abandoned piers of the K&S are on the right side of Pier 1 and between Piers 2 and 3. The second K&S pier is covered with some trees so it is hard to see it against the background of the shore trees.

The Bing map has a better view of the various piers. And you can clearly see the V-shape on the upstream side of the piers to help break up ice flows.

Birds-Eye View
The Piers 1 and 3 have a stone base and a concrete tower added on top. I'm sure that the current bridge is a steel girder bridge that replaced a former truss bridge that rested on the stone piers. Since the depth of the girders is less than the depth of the trusses, they had to add the "towers" on the stone piers to maintain the original track height. Note Piers 2 and 4 are completely concrete. That is because the girder spans are half the length of the truss spans so piers 2 and 4 had to be added when the bridge was upgraded. Note that the old piers align with the K&S piers.

Dan Tracy shared
Taken on March 20, 1942, this photograph shows a steam crane mounted on a flat car placing the last section of the New York Central's new bridge spanning the Kankakee River. The bridge is located at Kankakee's Kennedy Drive.

1939 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
I was expecting to see an old truss bridge in 1939 since the above photo shows that steel girders were installed in 1942. But the shadow and number of piers look like a steel girder bridge. Were they building a second girder bridge in 1942?

The river was higher when Gene Smania took a picture in Feb. 2012
It was also higher than my visit when Ken Smith took six photos of it.

Kankakee County Museum from Bridge Hunter
Westbound train on the bridge. Post rebuild Circa 1920 History: Built in 1882. Rebuilt from a Howe Truss to a Deck Truss in 1915. Demolished 1933.
[Note the Kankakee Belt bridge in the background.]
Kerry Bruck posted
In 1885 a 40 car flour special was run across the K&S to Kankakee. led by CCC&STL Big Four 4-4-0 type

The brown bridge in the background of this photo taught me that they have built a trail bridge on the Kankakee & Seneca RoW. Judging by this photo, they tore out the old piers and built new ones.
George Mosier Jr. posted
UP 7292 NS 3664 west bound mixed train on Kankakee River 6-7-20

Brandon Elliott posted
B14 heads over the Kankakee River
Kankakee, IL

Before the trail bridge was built. 
Bill McCabe posted
Back just a few years...

This street view catches both the NS/NYC Kankakee Belt and the trail bridges.
Street View

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