Tuesday, July 21, 2020

MWRD: Building new bridges for the Santa Fe at Lemont, IL


In order to build new bridges over the new route of the Des Plaines River and the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, they moved the Santa Fe's crossing of the Des Plaines Valley a little further East. I think the curve in the following photo is the one north of the river.

MWRD posted two photos with the comment:
A photo from August 2, 1899, shows a new railroad embankment in right foreground with the original embankment to left with train passing. The exact location is unknown, but it’s from a series of photos taken near Lemont, Illinois, along the nearly completed Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. Included is an enlarged view showing (presumably) a brakeman on top of the rail cars.


Dennis DeBruler commented on the MWRD post
1892 Joliet and 1894 Des Plaines Quadrangles @ 1:62,500

Dennis DeBruler commented on the MWRD post
The railroad crossing of the valley was moved further East. This emphasizes that, before they could even dig the canal, they had to do a lot of work to move the river.
1923 Joliet and 1900 Des Plaines Quadrangles @ 1:62,500

Since the first thing the Sanitary District had to do was move the river out of the way, I think the piers that we still see today were for a temporary bridge for the old route across the river that was used while they built the canal and Santa Fe's bobtail bridge and a permanent bridge for the river.

They then removed the temporary bridge after the new route was finished. That explains why the west bridge is already gone in this old aerial photo.
1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP

This photo shows the old route was so temporary across the new canal that they used wood bents rather for the old route across the canal.
Lemont Historical Society via FRRandP
[FRRandP added the red arrow showing the temporary bridge.]

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