5 votes

AMTK - Canal Street Lift Bridge


Scenic Harbor

Photo taken by Steve Conro in September 2012


BH Photo #240461

Street Views 


Originally built as part of the Pennsylvania Railroad system, this Waddell and Harrington vertical lift span is the only one of its kind across the Chicago River. Upon its completion in 1915, it had the heaviest (1,500 ton) main span of any vertical lift bridge in the United States.

-- Historic American Engineering Record


Pratt through truss bridge over South Branch of Chicago River on Amtrak
Chinatown, Cook County, Illinois
Open to traffic
Built 1915
- Pennsylvania Steel Co. of Steelton, Pennsylvania
- Waddell & Harrington of Kansas City, Missouri
- Amtrak (AMTK)
- BNSF Railway (BNSF)
- Metra (METX)
- Norfolk Southern Railway (NS)
- Penn Central Railroad (PC)
- Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR)
Pratt through truss
Span length: 273.0 ft.
Total length: 273.0 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+41.85556, -87.63670   (decimal degrees)
41°51'20" N, 87°38'12" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/447150/4633935 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory number
BH 50843 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • December 3, 2021: Photo imported by Dave King
  • June 11, 2021: New photo from Dave King
  • October 7, 2020: New photos from Tyler
  • April 20, 2019: New photo from James McCray
  • April 20, 2019: Updated by Geoff Hubbs: Corrected owner per Dennis DeBruler's comment
  • July 18, 2018: New photos from John Marvig
  • April 29, 2018: New photos from Drake Krohn
  • February 18, 2018: New Street View added by Roger Deschner
  • June 19, 2017: New Street View added by Dana and Kay Klein
  • December 28, 2016: New photos from Roger Deschner
  • November 22, 2015: New photos from Royce and Bobette Haley
  • July 15, 2015: New photos from John Marvig
  • February 11, 2015: Updated by Roger Deschner: Added category "Chicago River Movable Bridges"
  • October 4, 2014: New photo from Douglas Butler
  • September 30, 2012: Updated by Luke Harden: Added category "Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway"
  • September 29, 2012: Updated by Steve Conro: Add Photo's
  • January 6, 2012: Updated by J.P.: Added categories "HAER documented", "Riveted", "Navigable waterway", "Amtrak", "Pennsylvania Railroad"


  • J.P. - wildcatjon2000 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • HAER IL-112 - Pennsylvania Railroad, South Branch Chicago River Bridge, Spanning South Branch of Chicago River Bridge east of Canal Street, Chicago, Cook County, IL
  • Steve Conro - sconro [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • Historicbridges.org - by Nathan Holth
  • Douglas Butler
  • Amtrak South Branch Chicago River Railroad Bridge - Waddell's railroad lift bridge opening for vessel traffic
  • John Marvig - marvigj27 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Royce and Bobette Haley - roycehaley111 [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • Roger Deschner - rogerdeschner [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Dana and Kay Klein
  • Drake Krohn - drakekrohn [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Geoff Hubbs
  • James McCray - jamesinslocomb [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • Tyler
  • Dave King - DKinghawkfan [at] hotmail [dot] com


BNSF - Canal Street Lift Bridge
Posted June 20, 2017, by george oakley (georgeoakley49 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Nathan and Roger,either way it is actually exciting seeing underneath these bridges on the rivers.They ought to do every river.Would be very interesting,i think.

BNSF - Canal Street Lift Bridge
Posted June 19, 2017, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

That is an interesting development. It is interesting they went down some lesser traveled routes like under the Chicago and Alton Railroad Bridge... I wonder if they will venture further down the Sanitary and Ship Canal in the future...

BNSF - Canal Street Lift Bridge
Posted June 19, 2017, by Roger Deschner (rogerdeschner [at] gmail [dot] com)

I just found that Google put their street view camera on a boat on the Chicago River. It captured some great views of a number of interesting bridges, with even good views of the undersides of bridges, including this bridge. It went up the North Branch on both sides of Goose Island to North Avenue, down the South Branch to Damen Avenue, and out the Main Branch through the Chicago Locks and all around in Lake Michigan past Navy Pier.

This will be fun to explore!

Amtrak S. Branch Chicago River Bridge
Posted May 31, 2014, by Patrick Feller (nakrnsm [at] aol [dot] com)

The Conro photos really show the bridge well.