Address: North of 126th St., East of Torrence Ave. Year Built:
Date Designated a Chicago Landmark:
December 12, 2007
The Chicago and Western Indiana Railroad Bridge is an outstanding example of a "tower-driven" vertical-lift bridge. Located on the Calumet River, the bridge is based on the early 20th century patents developed by the Kansas City-based firm of Waddell and Harrington. The bridge was fabricated and built by the American Bridge Co. of Gary, Indiana and the Corbett Construction Company of Chicago. The spans are suspended between a pair of 210-foot towers and have a vertical lift of 125 feet. Its towers rest on concrete piers extending 80 to 90 feet to bedrock, and the approach spans' piers and abutments are supported by metal shell cast-in-place concrete piles. The bridge's immense span is vertically raised and lowered by a system of 64 cables and four giant pulleys. The cables are connected to massive steel-encased concrete counterweights which are suspended within the towers' framework. The bridge is powered by gasoline motors housed at the base of the north tower. The Chicago and Western Indiana Railroad Bridge provides a dominating visual presence to the surrounding area. Today the bridge is no longer in use and is currently in a raised position.