Wells Street Bridge
Photo taken by J.R. Manning in May 2010
BH Photo #165331
Double deck bascule bridge over Main Branch Chicago River carries Chicago Transit Authority Brown and Purple Line 'L' trains on its upper deck, and cars and pedestrians on its lower deck. Fixed warren pony truss approach span carries trains over the intersection of Wacker Drive and Wells Street at the bridge's south end.
The bridge was originally built in the upright position, leaving the previous swing bridge in service during construction. (See photo #23) Remarkably, when eventually lowered, everything fit.
This bridge underwent major rehabilitation in 2013, involving the replacement of the outer sections of each leaf. The new replacement sections were carefully designed to be nearly identical in appearance to the originals, with identically-shaped gusset plates, even using built-up lattice members to match the originals. The videos here show the rehabilitation process in great detail. The entire project was guided by the necessity of maintaining CTA 'L' traffic with minimum disruption, while allowing the bridge to be raised to allow river traffic to pass during construction, and still preserving the integrity of this crucial yet historic piece of infrastructure.
- Double-leaf bascule bridge over Main Branch Chicago River on N. Wells Street and CTA 'L' in Chicago
- Chicago, Cook County, Illinois
- Built 1922, rehabilitated 2013
- - Fitzsimons & Connell Dredge & Dock Co. of Chicago, Illinois
- Fort Pitt Bridge Works of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- Ketler-Elliot Erection Co. of Chicago, Illinois
- - Chicago Transit Authority (CTA)
- Rapid Transit
- Double-deck warren pony truss bascule bridge, with one fixed warren pony truss approach span at south end to carry trains over Wacker Drive
Length of largest span: 268.0 ft.
Total length: 345.0 ft.
Deck width: 38.0 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 12.4 ft.
Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places
- Approximate latitude, longitude
- +41.88806, -87.63361 (decimal degrees)
41°53'17" N, 87°38'01" W (degrees°minutes'seconds")
- Approximate UTM coordinates
- 16/447433/4637541 (zone/easting/northing)
- Quadrangle map:
- Chicago Loop
- Inventory numbers
- IL 016-6054 (Illinois bridge number)
BH 15176 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
- Inspection (as of 12/2012)
- Deck condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Superstructure condition rating: Serious (3 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Appraisal: Structurally deficient
Sufficiency rating: 21.0 (out of 100)
- Average daily traffic (as of 2010)
- February 3, 2016: New photos from Royce and Bobette Haley
- December 16, 2015: New Street View added by Douglas Butler
- July 14, 2015: New photos from John Marvig
- May 24, 2014: New photo from Roger Deschner
- January 10, 2014: Updated by Roger Deschner: Bridge rehabilitation is complete. Open to all traffic.
- October 8, 2013: New Street View added by J.P.
- April 7, 2013: Updated by Roger Deschner: Extensive revision reflecting current rehabilitation project
- September 30, 2012: New photos from Steve Conro
- May 14, 2010: New photos from J.R. Manning
- March 4, 2010: Updated by Robert Stephenson: Bridge design
- HAER IL-52 - Chicago River Bascule Bridge, Wells Street, Spanning South Branch Chicago River at North Wells Street, Chicago, Cook County, IL
- James Baughn - webmaster [at] bridgehunter [dot] com
- Robert Stephenson - seinfeld99 [at] yahoo [dot] com
- J.R. Manning - thekitchenguy [at] sbcglobal [dot] net
- Mike Roegner
- Steve Conro - sconro [at] yahoo [dot] com
- Roger Deschner - rogerdeschner [at] gmail [dot] com
- Historicbridges.org - by Nathan Holth
- Douglas Butler
- J.P. - wildcatjon2000 [at] gmail [dot] com
- John Marvig - marvigj27 [at] gmail [dot] com
- Royce and Bobette Haley - roycehaley111 [at] yahoo [dot] com