2 votes

Brandon Road Draw Bridge



Photo taken Sept. 2005 by Bill Burmaster

BH Photo #102642

Street View 


Bascule bridge over Brandon Road Lock Channel of Des Plaines River on Brandon Road (CH 42)
Joliet, Will County, Illinois
Reopened after long-term repairs
Built 1932; rehabilitated 1949, 1990, 2021; reopened April 5, 2021
Bascule Steel stringer
Length of largest span: 150.9 ft.
Total length: 198.1 ft.
Deck width: 22.0 ft.
Listed as a contributing resource to the Brandon Road Lock and Dam Historic District
Approximate latitude, longitude
+41.50240, -88.10457   (decimal degrees)
41°30'09" N, 88°06'16" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/407811/4595119 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Average daily traffic (as of 2015)
Inventory numbers
IL 099-9903 (Illinois bridge number)
BH 15734 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of June 2017)
Overall condition: Fair
Superstructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Good (7 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 61.8 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com


Bascule (1,096)
Beam (16,950)
Built 1932 (993)
Built during 1930s (12,198)
Have street view (29,246)
Illinois (4,947)
Joliet, Illinois (54)
Movable (3,136)
NR-contributing (162)
Navigable waterway (2,212)
Open (41,012)
Owned by state (16,592)
Span length 125-175 feet (4,454)
Steel stringer (6,742)
Total length 175-250 feet (4,525)
Will County, Illinois (143)

Update Log 

  • September 7, 2021: Updated by Roger Deschner: Bridge is NR-contributing
  • April 16, 2021: Updated by Roger Deschner: Bridge reopened after long-term repairs
  • January 31, 2021: New photo from Geoff Hubbs
  • March 29, 2020: New photo from Geoff Hubbs
  • January 6, 2020: Updated by Roger Deschner: Bridge closed for long-term repairs of center lock mechanism
  • August 30, 2013: New Street View added by Douglas Butler
  • January 7, 2012: New photos from Steve Conro
  • December 18, 2006: Posted photos from Bill Burmaster

Related Bridges 



Brandon Road Draw Bridge
Posted September 7, 2021, by Roger Deschner (rogerdeschner [at] gmail [dot] com)

As for its vintage, NBI says 1932, and this date is supported by the art-deco design of the bridgetender's house. This is also when the adjoining Brandon Road Lock and Dam was built. The bridge, lock, and dam were all the same project.

It is entirely possible that the leaves have been subsequently replaced, as has been done on other Chicago-style trunion bascule bridges, such as the Wells Street Bridge in Downtown Chicago. This might have been in the 1990 reconstruction, speculating from inspection reports of the superstructure which went from "Poor" in July 1990 to "Excellent" in October 1993. This may also be why the locking mechanism keeps failing on this bridge, as opposed to the other five bascule bridges in Joliet, whose leaves (and locking mechanisms) are still original. As Nathan Holth said, "they don't build them like they used to". On this bridge, that may apply to a 1990 locking mechanism.

Brandon Road Draw Bridge
Posted September 6, 2021, by Roger Deschner (rogerdeschner [at] gmail [dot] com)

Reopened August 27, 2021. The lock mechanism bracket which failed was readily available, and did not need to be custom-fabricated. https://www.shawlocal.com/the-herald-news/news/local/2021/08...

Brandon Road Draw Bridge
Posted August 23, 2021, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Does anyone know when this bridge was REALLY built? Because it wasn't built in 1929. If it was built in 1929 we would be seeing rivets. The welded girders are of modern construction. Seems an example of "they don't build them like they used to" to me.

Brandon Road Draw Bridge
Posted August 23, 2021, by Roger Deschner (rogerdeschner [at] gmail [dot] com)

"Illinois Department of Transportation spokeswoman Maria Castaneda on Monday said it appears that a bracket that holds the bridge’s center locking mechanism broke and a new piece may need to be designed and fabricated." -- WBBM Newsradio. https://www.audacy.com/wbbm780/news/local/recently-reopened-...

Same part that failed several times before, so this might also take a while. Something tells me that this bridge's days may be numbered. Heavy boat traffic requires it to be raised frequently, but its center lock mechanism has proven to have recurring failures. This has not been a problem with Joliet's other drawbridges, which are raised just as often.

Construction of warehouses southeast of the Des Plaines River, between IL-53 and I-55, has continued to grow. Losing this bridge will once again worsen problems for logistics traffic trying to reach I-80.

Brandon Road Draw Bridge
Posted August 23, 2021, by Roger Deschner (rogerdeschner [at] gmail [dot] com)

Closed again on Sunday August 22, 2021. Very little information available yet.


Brandon Road Draw Bridge
Posted April 16, 2021, by Roger Deschner (rogerdeschner [at] gmail [dot] com)

Bridge reopened to traffic April 5, 2021, after being closed for 15 months for repairs to its lock mechanism.


This may relieve some of the traffic congestion on the nearby McDonough Street bridge.

Brandon Road Draw Bridge
Posted September 23, 2020, by Tyler

It appears from the pictures that the bascule leaves were replaced some time in the past. I would expect a 1930s bridge to have riveted girders rather than welded ones

Brandon Road Draw Bridge
Posted January 6, 2020, by Roger Deschner (rogerdeschner [at] gmail [dot] com)

News reports say that this 1932 bascule bridge is now closed for long-term repairs to the center lock mechanism, which holds the two leaves together while the bridge is closed to boats and open to road traffic. IDOT has plans to completely replace the center lock, which will take a while. However some unconfirmed reports say that the bridge has now been closed permanently.

The center lock on this bridge had failed repeatedly since 2016, most recently in November 2019. The Des Plaines River carries heavy boat traffic at this point, so it is critical that its draw bridges be able to open efficiently.

Chicago area traffic reports recommend using the I-80 bridge as a detour.


Brandon Road Bridge
Posted February 1, 2007, by Anonymous

I grew up in Lockport near there. I believe that bridge is just down stream of the lock and dam with a good view of it when crossing. Nice to see another Joliet area bridge added to the site. Great site, by the way. I go to another site called airliners.net and the people who frequent that board have made it an extremely popular web site. I have that feeling about this site also.