Thursday, September 24, 2020

I-90 Skyway Bridge over Calumet River in Chicago, IL

(Bridge Hunter; Historic Bridges; HAER; Official Link3D Satellite)

HAER ILL, 16-CHIG, 138--22 (CT)

LOOKING NORTH AT MAIN SPAN, FROM 100TH STREET BRIDGE - Chicago Skyway Toll Bridge, I-90, for 7.8 miles from South State Street to Indiana state line, Chicago, Cook County, IL

Significance: The Chicago Skyway Toll Bridge system crosses the Calumet River on a 650'-0"-long cantilever Warren through truss. This is Chicago's highest and longest bridge, and perhaps more importantly, its symbolic eastern gateway. The Skyway's completion marked the final link in a system oftoll roads stretching from New York City to Chicago. This "toll bridge," however, also includes 7.8 miles of approach roads, which hint at an interesting legislative history. The Skyway's overpass and interchange structures contain specialty steel work such as welded rigid-frame bents and "hammer-head" piers, then relatively new designs. The toll plaza and service building, described in aseparate report, are also significant for their innovative design [HAER-data]

Chicago Event of the Day posted
April 1, 1954 – Mayor Martin Kennelly approves the plans for the construction of a $50 million extension of the Indiana turnpike into Chicago, a toll road that will require a high bridge over the Calumet River and seven miles of expressway.  The toll may be as high as 25 cents for passenger cars with higher fees for trucks, based on their size.  The construction will begin under a piece of 1953 Illinois legislation that allows cities to build and operate toll bridges.  Chicago officials state that the entire seven miles of the road will be considered as an approach to the bridge, a position that will be tested in the courts.  What came to be known as the Chicago Skyway was finished in 1958 at a cost of $101 million (a little over $900,000,000 in 2020 dollars).  In 2005 the city sold the Skyway for $1.83 billion to a joint venture between an Australian and a Spanish company.  That group, the Skyway Concession Company, then assumed operation and maintenance of the route.  A decade later the Skyway was sold again to three of Canada’s largest investment funds for $2.8 billion.
[According to a comment, the toll is now $5.25. I started getting off the expressway in Indiana and taking US-41 to I-55 or I-290 decades ago because the Skyway always seemed to be jammed up with construction.]
[This photo appears to be HAER ILL, 16-CHIG, 138--18]

Christopher Camalick shared
[According to a comment, the toll is now $5.30.]

Mike Lenich posted
Skyway under construction where I grew up..,

Michael Siola shared

Tony Margis posted

tony Margis posted
[I never noticed that the piers were in the river until I saw this photo. The "white towers" in the background are the exhaust pipes for the peaking plant.]

Construction photos
Rod Sellers Skyway is 125 feet above the river. Elevator lift bridges on the Calumet River are 120-125 feet above river when opened. ACE maps give specs.

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