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49.3

Posted in dormant chicago bridges, GR21, the world around us by hemmant jha on April 7, 2009

more images of the bridge featured in 49.1.

Since this is the third post devoted to this particular bridge, it’s time it had a name. I hereby christen it Ben.

Appearances notwithstanding, I am not a bridge groupie. I go to Chinatown fairly often for my fix of Sumiyaki Coffee at the Saint’s Alp Teahouse [1] – the bridge happens to be on the way and it is impossible to miss.

I happen to like this one in particular for its looks, its intent and its straightforward, gutsy engineering solution. While there’s nothing elegant about it [a Calatrava bridge it is not], there’s something endearing about its simplicity – two towers, aligned to fit on the skewed site, each supporting a large concrete counterweight and mechanisms to raise and lower the weights. In response, the portion of the bridge that spans the river rises to allow passage of boats and barges. Simple in concept and execution – steel held together with rivets. Design that works.

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49.2

Posted in dormant chicago bridges, the world around us by hemmant jha on April 2, 2009

49.1

Posted in dormant chicago bridges, the world around us by hemmant jha on March 16, 2009

The documentation of dormant bridges in Chicago continues. [first post here]

I drive by two interesting railway bridges on the way to Chinatown – both on Amtrak property. While I wait to hear back from Amtrak PR about permission for a formal shoot, I’ve posted some images shot from afar.

This is probably the most ambitious of the bridges I’ve seen here so far, with massive concrete counterweights and a control room [ripe for loft conversion?] perched atop the girder that travels vertically along the two towers. It would be fantastic to see this in action.

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49

Posted in dormant chicago bridges, GR21, the world around us, things we like by hemmant jha on March 10, 2009

the Chicago Bridge Documentation Project is now underway.

During the past few months, I’ve carried cameras around with me as I went through various parts of this city. I was most fascinated by the sheer number of mostly dormant, imaginatively engineered and absolutely magnificent bridges in Chicago. The most intriguing ones are counterweighted with massive blocks of solid concrete attached to massive steel frames, all held together with rivets [for beautiful retro-futuristic steampunk imagery, watch steamboy by Katsuhiro Otomo, who also directed Akira]. Like the deep dish pizza native to the city, there’s nothing particularly elegant about these bridges – they’re studies in solid, beefy, densely put together stuff created to get the job done. Sadly, a lot of them are now rusting hulks – which does nothing to diminish their presence. 

This particular bridge is located between West Canal St. and Kingsbury, on West Kinzie St. 

These images [except for the satellite / map image from Google maps] were shot on film with a Ricoh GR21 camera. 

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