Wednesday, June 15, 2016

June 15, 1931 -- Wabash Avenue Bridge Honored

June 15, 1931 – The American Institute of Steel Construction selects the new Wabash Avenue Bridge as the most beautiful span costing more than one million dollars constructed in the United States or Canada during 1930.  The jury observed that the bridge over the Chicago River was “a most pleasing solution of a most difficult bridge design problem.”  [Chicago Tribune, June 16, 1931]  City Bridge Engineer Thomas G. Pihfeldt drew the plans for the bridge, which was fabricated by the Ketler Elliott Company  and cost $1,750,000 to build.  Because the bridge is adjacent to a bend in the river, the government refused to allow the pits for the counterweight and trunnion to intrude on the river beyond the dock lines.  As a result the bridge was placed diagonally to Wabash Avenue, complicating the planning for the structure.  This is the first bridge ever to be built at this location.  It helps to relieve the traffic burden placed on Michigan Avenue, and it connects Wabash Avenue south of the river to Cass Street on the north side of the river.  Today Cass Street is called Wabash Avenue as well.

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