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. Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable established a trading post in 1779 just northeast of the bridge.
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
IL 016-6035 (Illinois bridge number)
BH 15152 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of September 2017)
Overall condition: Poor
Superstructure condition rating: Poor(4 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Satisfactory(6 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Fair(5 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 42.2 (out of 100) View more at BridgeReports.com
October 3, 2020: New photo from Tyler
May 30, 2018: New Street View added by Dana and Kay Klein
May 6, 2018: New video from Roger Deschner
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
James McCray - jamesinslocomb [at] yahoo [dot] com
HAER IL-37 - Chicago River Bascule Bridge, Michigan Avenue, Spanning Chicago River at North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Cook County, IL
J.R. Manning - thekitchenguy [at] sbcglobal [dot] net