demolition of the historic 111-year old division street basule bridge set to begin monday

beginning monday a demolition crew will begin deconstructing the historic division street bridge located near goose island. the city will be replacing the 111-year-old bascule type (commonly referred to as a drawbridge) with an interim span while building a permanent replacement.

the bridge was originally built in 1904 and has served as an integral link across goose island for cars, bikes, pedestrians and trains for over a century. replacement of the existing, out-dated bridge is necessary to accommodate the size and flow of modern-day traffic.

the divison street bridge is one of chicago's oldest surviving highway bascule bridges; an example of the first generation of bascule bridges built in chicago, and among the oldest surviving bascule bridges in north america. this specific bridge was the fourth bridge built in the city according to the first bascule bridge design, which was a complex part-through part-pony truss design as seen in the images below. the superstructure for this bridge was built by roemheld & gallery and the fitzsimmons and connell company constructed the substructure. of the small number of surviving first generation bascule bridges in chicago, the division street bridge is one of the most heavily altered, with a significant number of members toward the center of the bridge, having been replaced and/or original rivets being replaced with bolts.

the division street bridge is one of several bascule bridges that made the landmarks preservation council of illinois’ 2013 list of the 10 most endangered historic places in the state.

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