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Torrence Avenue Bridge


Photo taken by Steve Conro in September 2012


BH Photo #240036


Street View 


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Torrence Avenue Bridge Demolition - Alternate View

Demolition of the Torrence Avenue Bridge, over the Grand Calumet River in Chicago.

Illinois Department of Transportation

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Through truss bridge over Grand Calumet River on Torrence Avenue in Chicago
Chicago, Cook County, Illinois
Built 1938; rehabilitated 1970; demolished March 3, 2016
Pennsylvania through truss
Length of largest span: 306.0 ft.
Total length: 521.8 ft.
Deck width: 43.9 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 15.0 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+41.64482, -87.55926   (decimal degrees)
41°38'41" N, 87°33'33" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/453426/4610493 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Lake Calumet
Average daily traffic (as of 2014)
Inventory numbers
IL 016-0934 (Illinois bridge number)
BH 15170 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of May 2015)
Overall condition: Poor
Superstructure condition rating: Imminent Failure (1 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Critical (2 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 2 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • March 6, 2016: Updated by Roger Deschner: Bridge demolished by explosion March 3, 2016. Video available.
  • March 3, 2016: New video from Brad Smith
  • October 29, 2015: Updated by Roger Deschner: Bridge has been closed and is awaiting demolition.
  • October 8, 2013: New Street View added by J.P.

Related Bridges 


  • Historicbridges.org - by Nathan Holth
  • Steve Conro - sconro [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • J.P. - wildcatjon2000 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Roger Deschner - rogerdeschner [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Brad Smith - gaberdine [at] hotmail [dot] com


Torrence Avenue Bridge
Posted March 6, 2016, by Roger Deschner (rogerdeschner [at] gmail [dot] com)

Apparently an element of IDOT's decision to replace this bridge, instead if fix it, was that the waterway underneath it is no longer considered navigable. It is closed even to small pleasure boats. Therefore the greater clearance over the water provided by a truss bridge was no longer necessary. So down it came, with a big ka-boom. The replacement bridge will be much lower, not to mention boring.

Torrence Avenue Bridge
Posted October 29, 2015, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)


A few interesting notes about this bridge. First, this bridge has been "doomed" for some time, the recent inspection merely accelerated pre-existing plans for destruction. Second, the approach spans for this bridge are not original and in fact these pre-stressed approach spans as I recall were one of the most deteriorated elements on the bridge. Thirdly, on this same road and exposed to similar traffic is the City of Chicago's lift bridge. The City instead however rehabbed their bridge, indicative that this type of work could have been done to this truss as well. Simple fact is that IDOT hates truss bridges, and even worse, they don't even consider this bridge to be historic.

Torrence Avenue Bridge
Posted October 29, 2015, by Roger Deschner (rogerdeschner [at] gmail [dot] com)

This incredibly complex Pennsylvania truss bridge was closed for emergency repairs after an inspection in May 2015 found deterioration in a major structural member. When work commenced, it was decided it was beyond repair, so it was announced today that it will be demolished and replaced starting immediately. If you want to take a picture, hurry!

News stories:



A practically identical Pennsylvania truss bridge over the Cal Sag at Archer Avenue is in much better condition, despite carrying heavier traffic including more trucks, and in fact was just repainted. See "Related bridges" above. One must wonder if this bridge at Torrence Ave had been maintained as well as its twin at Archer Ave has been, it would still be in good condition.