W. Adams Street

Historical Summary

West Adams going up on a Saturday morning

The West Adams Street river crossing has been in use for more than 140 years. The first swing bridge was built around 1869. The swing bridge era at West Adams ended when the current bridge opened.

The current bridge uses two deck trusses to support each leaf. This bridge and its neighbor at Jackson Boulevard are the only two, single deck bridges using deck trusses in this group.

Limestone clad bridge tender houses are at the northwest and southeast corners of the bridge. These bridge tender houses are characteristic of the bridges built between 1913 and 1930.

This bridge was involved in some political controversy. In 1923, then city engineer Alexander Murdoch supported the use of patented Strauss designed bridge components for use on this bridge and the bridge at Roosevelt Road. While use of these patents was supported by two boards of engineers, the fact that Chicago had lost a patent suit brought by the Strauss Bascule Bridge Company no doubt gave upper management a negative view of his decision. The Commissioner of Public Works asked Mr. Murdoch to change his decision. Mr. Murdoch declined and was fired. John Ericson, the former city engineer, was rehired and Strauss patented components were not used on the bridge.