GC: FH Paschen, Chicago, Illinois
CM: US Architectural Glass & Metal, Darien, Illinois Architect: Chicago Transportation Authority
The Michigan Avenue Bridge carries Michigan Avenue across the Chicago River. The bridge lies at the foot of the Magnificent Mile between the Wrigley Building and Tribune Tower and is a part of the Michigan-Walker Historic district. The bridge was built from 1917-1920 as two parallel bridges that operate independently of one another. It was designed by architect Edward H. Bennett and is an early example of fixed trunnion Bascule Bridge which became widely known as a “Chicago style bascule”. The bridge was incorporated as part of Daniel Burnham’s 1909 Plan of Chicago to replace the bridge at the foot of Rush Street. The Michigan Avenue Bridge is unique in that it is a double-deck, double leaf trunnion Bascule Bridge, the first of its kind ever built. The bridge was considered an engineering marvel of its time and engineers are still impressed with the nearly-century-old bridge’s mechanical prowess. The stunning Beaux Arts-style bridge was designated a Chicago Landmark in October 1991.
Allen Architectural Metals, Inc. was chosen to replicate the bridge’s original pedestrian railings. The new railings were cast and fabricated in aluminum. The entire railing assemblies were fabricated in the shop then dismantled and shipped to the location for installation on the bridge. The more than 400 linear feet of railings have a high-end Kynar finish that matches the color pallet chosen by the city.