Welcome to Chicago Loop Bridges!

The website devoted to Chicago's downtown movable bridges.

Interested in touring these beauties? Check out these tips

Walking along the Main Stem of the Chicago River? Discover the Chicago Riverwalk

  • Main Stem - Chicago River
  • N. Wells St. - February 11, 1922 - 95 years!
  • W. Adams St. - August 26, 1927 - 90 years!
  • W. 18th St. - August 18, 1967 - 50 years!
  • E. 100th St. (Calumet River) - September 24, 1927 - 90 years!
  • N. Lake Shore Dr. - October 5, 1937 - 80 years!
  • N. Columbus Dr. - October 31, 1982 - 35 years!
  • Crane moving on the South Branch of the Chicago River
  • N. Clark St. - July 10, 1929
  • W. Washington Blvd. - May 26, 1913
  • N. Franklin St. - October 23, 1920
  • W. Jackson Blvd. - January 29, 1916
  • N. La Salle St. - December 20, 1928
  • W. Lake St. - November 6, 1916
  • N. Michigan Ave. - May 14, 1920
  • W. Madison St. - November 29, 1922
  • N. State St. - May 28, 1949
  • W. Monroe St. - February 22, 1919
  • W. Randolph St. - December 21, 1984
  • W. Van Buren St. - December 5, 1956
  • N. Wabash Ave. - December 20, 1930
  • N. Dearborn St. - October 27, 1963

Downtown Chicago provides a unique opportunity for anyone interested in bridges. In a mere two miles, there are eighteen movable bridges. While the most celebrated bridge is the Du Sable Bridge at N. Michigan Avenue, there are seventeen other examples of beautiful Chicago bridges. An easy stroll along Wacker Drive provides an opportunity to see the evolution in design of the Chicago Type, Double Leaf, Trunnion, Bascule Bridge .

Chicago Loop Bridges provides some background information on these beauties, takes you on a virtual tour, and provides suggestions for touring on your own. This site focuses on the eighteen bridges from N. Lake Shore Drive, at the mouth of the Chicago River to West Van Buren Street, on the South Branch. A map and photographs of all 29 regularly operated bridges is at this link.

You will find tips for watching these bridges while they operate for seasonal sail boat runs; suggestions for photo locations; and short trips on the North & South branches out of the downtown area.

As you explore the site, you will find photographs, facts, general information, some engineering drawings, "local" videos and links to YouTube videos and narrated tours provided for the individual bridges. In addition, there is a mobile "version" providing some photos and basic quick facts, formatted for mobile devices. (check out the bridgehouse picture index)

The basis for the information in this site is research done for the e-book, "Two Miles - Eighteen Bridges A walk along the Chicago River." In addition, I have written two short articles - one about the engineers involved in the development of the Chicago Type Bridge and the other an historical look at bridge operation. These documents are available from Scribd.

The video below provides the external and internal views of the raising of the Du Sable Bridge. The internal view is available to the public at the McCormick Bridgehouse and Chicago River Museum (operated by the Friends of the Chicago River). Water taxis and the Bridgehouse Museum are excellent means to learn and see the Chicago River in downtown Chicago.

Sounds from the gear room

(YouTube Link)