On December 13 Chicago’s Grand Avenue Bridge turned 100 years old. The bridge opened on in 1913 on what was once called Indiana Avenue—which makes sense as it is just one block north of Illinois Street.
Proposals for widening or replacing Grand Avenue were contemplated in the 1920s, ’40s & ’60s but never got past the planning stages. This was a time when this bridge and the Erie Street Bridge (removed in the 1970s) provided all-important connections for daily commuters between the near-northside and the west side of the city. However traffic on these bridges was significantly diminished after development of the expressways and Ohio Avenue feeder-ramp and bascule bridge (1961) crossing the river one-block north of Grand Avenue.
Patrick T. McBriarty writes about the history of the city’s iconic bridges in Chicago River Bridges, the first comprehensive guidebook to this unique element of the Second City’s landscape.