2 votes

Michigan Avenue Bridge



The bridge acts as a memorial to Fort Dearborn.

Photo taken by James McCray in August 2007


Request this photo

BH Photo #111189


Street Views 


This impressive four-leaf double-deck bascule bridge was built to be Chicago's showpiece bridge. It commemorates historic Fort Dearborn, which was located at the bridge's south end. The bas-relief sculptures on each of the bridge's four ornate tender houses depict scenes in the city's history. The bridge carries very heavy vehicular and pedestrian traffic on both of its two levels.

The southwest bridge tender house is open to the public as the McCormick Bridgehouse Museum, with displays on the history of the Chicago River, Fort Dearborn, and the bridge itself, including the ability to view the bridge's internal operating machinery.

On October 15, 2010 it was officially renamed the DuSable Bridge, in honor of Chicago's first non-native permanent resident.

During repair work on September 20, 1992, the southeast leaf flew open uncontrolled, catapulting a crane and other construction equipment across Wacker Drive, injuring several people, with a heavy wrecking ball landing in the back seat of an occupied car. The bridge leaf was unbalanced because the deck had been removed for replacement, so the counterweight was heavier than the bridge. According to eyewitness reports, it only took about 5 seconds to rise to fully vertical, which was so violent that the bridge leaf was ripped off its trunion bearings and fell into the tail pit.


Bascule bridge over Main Branch Chicago River on Michigan Avenue (former US 14) in Chicago
Chicago, Cook County, Illinois
Open to traffic
Built 1920; repaired after freak accident 1992
Bascule Pratt deck truss
Length of largest span: 255.8 ft.
Total length: 398.8 ft.
Deck width: 64.0 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 13.5 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places
Also called
DuSable Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+41.88861, -87.62417   (decimal degrees)
41°53'19" N, 87°37'27" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/448217/4637597 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Chicago Loop OE E
Average daily traffic (as of 2014)
Inventory numbers
IL 016-6035 (Illinois bridge number)
BH 15152 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of September 2015)
Overall condition: Poor
Superstructure condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 43.5 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • February 15, 2018: New Street View added by Dana and Kay Klein
  • May 21, 2016: New Street View added by Douglas Butler
  • January 22, 2016: New photos from Royce and Bobette Haley
  • December 22, 2015: New Street View added by Douglas Butler
  • October 5, 2014: New photo from Douglas Butler
  • July 11, 2014: New photos from Andrew Raker
  • June 6, 2014: Updated by Roger Deschner: Add more detailed description
  • January 24, 2014: New photos from Douglas Butler
  • September 12, 2013: New Street View added by Douglas Butler
  • May 17, 2010: New photos from J.R. Manning
  • February 4, 2008: New photos from James McCray



Michigan Avenue Bridge
Posted September 8, 2007, by Tom Staley (thomass [at] nc [dot] rr [dot] com)

Photo taken Sept. 7, 2007