February 24, 2017

Mayor Emanuel Announces Adams Street Bridge Reopens To Traffic Today After Completion Of Major Rehabilitation Project

Mike Claffey    312.744.0707 | Michael.Claffey@cityofchicago.org

Susan Hofer    312.742.2006 | Susan.Hofer@cityofchicago.org

Adams Street Bridge

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) announced the re-opening today of the Adams Street Bascule Bridge following a 13-month rehabilitation project. The bridge, which was first opened in 1927, is one of the City’s 37 iconic bascule bridges, which can be raised to allow for boat traffic on the Chicago River. The project also involved reconstructing the viaduct structure which extends over the Union Station railroad tracks from the river to Canal Street. 

“The Adams Street Bascule Bridge, and other bridges like it, represent Chicago’s great legacy of investing in infrastructure to build a better future for our residents,” Mayor Emanuel said. “We know these types of investments are critical to maintaining our historic infrastructure and keeping Chicago moving forward in the 21st Century.”

The $33 million project was paid for through federal and state funds. The work on the steel and concrete viaduct structure over the active Union Station tracks required close coordination with Amtrak and Metra. The project also included:

  • Refurbishing of the bridge machinery, including the center lock and other components. 
  • A new electrical control system.
  • Restoration of the bridge tender’s houses on both sides of the bridge (ongoing).
  • Improvements to the intersection of Adams Street and Canal Street.
  • New street lighting and traffic signals and improved roadway drainage.

Westbound Adams Street carries historic Route 66 through downtown Chicago, from Michigan Avenue to Ogden Avenue. Although the bridge was closed to vehicular traffic for the full 13-months, pedestrian access was maintained across the span with the exception of a two-month period in the fall. As a key access point to Union Station from the Loop, the Adams Street Bridge has one of the highest pedestrian traffic counts for locations tracked by CDOT, carrying more than 45,000 pedestrians on a typical weekday on both sides of the bridge.

Today’s opening to vehicular traffic will allow two lanes of westbound traffic across the bridge, with the south curb lane remaining closed while painting, work on the bridge houses and punch list work continues into May.

“CDOT is very pleased to be restoring vehicular traffic on the Adams Street Bascule Bridge,” CDOT Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld said. “We would like to thank everyone for bearing with us during this work, especially the thousands of daily commuters who depend on the bridge for access to Union Station.”

"I am pleased to mark the completion of the Adams Street Bridge reconstruction project, and the reopening of the bridge,” said Alderman Brendan Reilly (42nd Ward). “I would like to thank CDOT for their efforts to complete these significant structural improvements as quickly as possible. Additionally, I would like to thank neighborhood residents for their patience during this important infrastructure project."

The Adams Street Bascule Bridge is one of a total of 37 operable movable bridges maintained by CDOT and one of 18 bascule bridges over the Chicago River in the Central Business District. CDOT has rebuilt or substantially repaired 15 of the bascule bridges over the past 20 years, in addition to regular annual maintenance work done on each bridge every year. Under Mayor Emanuel, CDOT has rehabilitated or completed a total of 27 bridge projects.

The Adams Street Bridge closure required re-routing for the following seven CTA bus routes downtown, beginning January 25: #1 Bronzeville/Union Station, #7 Harrison, #28 Stony Island, #121 Union/Streeterville Express, #126 Jackson, #151 Sheridan and #156 LaSalle.

As of this morning, these buses all resumed their regular routes.


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