Cortland Street Bridge
Designated a landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Cortland Street Bridge is a double-leaf bascule span that became in the early twentieth century the standard for movable bridges designed by the city engineer of Chicago. The Cortland Street bridge was the first of this type and featured electric motors that drove pinion gears which engaged a rack attached to the end of each truss. Counterweights on the shore sides of the bridge counterbalanced the roadway and superstructure that spanned the river and thus little power was required to raise or lower the bridge. When raised, each leaf assumed a nearly vertical position providing a wide clearance for vessels plying the river. City engineers designed the machinery so that the bridge could open within one minute during calm weather and under three minutes during windy conditions.
From a report prepared for the American Historic Engineering Record, 1987. HAER photos by Jet Lowe.
- Double-leaf bascule bridge over North Branch Chicago River on W. Cortland Street in Chicago
- Chicago, Cook County, Illinois
- Open to traffic
- Built 1901-02
- - American Bridge Co. of New York (Lassig Plant of Chicago)
- Fitzsimons & Connell Co. of Chicago, Illinois
- John Ericson
- - Chicago Surface Lines (CSL)
- Chicago Transit Authority (CTA)
- Bascule Pratt through truss
Length of largest span: 127.9 ft.
Total length: 216.8 ft.
Deck width: 36.0 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 16.1 ft.
Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places
- Approximate latitude, longitude
- +41.91694, -87.66361 (decimal degrees)
41°55'01" N, 87°39'49" W (degrees°minutes'seconds")
- Approximate UTM coordinates
- 16/444969/4640767 (zone/easting/northing)
- Quadrangle map:
- Chicago Loop
- Average daily traffic (as of 2014)
- Inventory numbers
- IL 016-6011 (Illinois bridge number)
BH 15116 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
- Inspection report (as of September 2017)
- Overall condition: Poor
Superstructure condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Good (7 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 50.1 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com
- June 4, 2016: New Street View added by Douglas Butler
- November 30, 2015: New Street View added by Douglas Butler
- November 26, 2015: New photos from Royce and Bobette Haley
- November 25, 2015: New photos from Royce and Bobette Haley
- May 26, 2015: Updated by Luke: Added categories "Chicago Surface Lines", "streetcar", "Railroad", "Rail-and-road"
- March 30, 2015: New photos from Steve Conro
- January 3, 2014: New photo from Douglas Butler
- October 8, 2013: New Street View added by J.P.
- May 17, 2010: Updated by J.R. Manning: Added description from HAER Report
- July 25, 2008: New photos from James Baughn
- HAER IL-138 - Chicago River Bascule Bridge, West Cortland Street, Spanning North Branch of Chicago River at West Cortland Street, Chicago, Cook County, IL
- James Baughn - webmaster [at] bridgehunter [dot] com
- J.R. Manning - thekitchenguy [at] sbcglobal [dot] net
- Douglas Butler
- J.P. - wildcatjon2000 [at] gmail [dot] com
- Steve Conro - sconro [at] yahoo [dot] com
- Royce and Bobette Haley - roycehaley111 [at] yahoo [dot] com