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Plans for the Franklin-Orleans Bridge
Chicago Tribune, August 19, 1920
New Bridge Has First “Fitting”
The new $1,000,000 Franklin-Orleans street bridge as it appeared yesterday.
The new structure $1,000,000 Franklin-Orleans street jack-knife bridge was lowered yesterday for the first time to permit workmen to put the finishing touches on the structure.
The bridge will not be ready for use before Oct. 1, as the Franklin and South Water street approaches are only about half completed.
Only a few engineers and contractors were present yesterday as the machinery began to operate and the two huge spans met with a click in the center of the river. Considerable work remains to be done on the bridge itself before it will be ready to bear traffic.
Chicago Tribune, October 17, 1920
One of Chicago’s twenty year old dreams will come true next Saturday afternoon when the Franklin-Orleans street improvement, costing $1,920,000, will be formally opened to traffic by Mayor Thompson and officers of the Franklin-Orleans Bridge association.
The improvement includes the new $1,000,000 Franklin-Orleans double leaf trunnion bascule bridge, with 210 feet of clear channel between its piers. It opens up to a new and greatly needed traffic artery between the loop and the northwest side.
Four Approaches from North.
Four north side approaches to the structure, spreading fanlike into the business and warehouse district, north of the river, will handle much traffic which now passes over the congested Wells and Lake street bridges.
These approaches are West Kinzie street, Orleans street street and West Austin avenue, a ramp starting at Kingsbury street and West Austin avenue and a ramp heading to the approach from North Wells and West Kinzie streets.
The south approach of the bridge starts about twenty-five feet north of Lake street on Franklin street. West South Water street is depressed so that it goes underneath the south approach of the bridge.
More Than Three Years Building.
The improvement was authorized by the city in March of 1916. Actual construction began in May, 1917—three and a half years ago—and the work was hindered at times slighted in favor of the work on the boulevard link.
The opening of the improvement is to be made the occasion for a celebration similar to that of the boulevard link bridge. Grand stands will be provided for spectators at both ends of the bridge and musicians will play as the mayor and officials of the bridge association cross in automobiles.
The Franklin-Orleans Bridge association was largely responsible for shaping public opinion to make the improvement possible. James H. Channon, president of the association, Edward Mohr, Jamkes F. Finnegan, George R. Durgan, Hampden Winston, and other members of the association will take part in the celebration.
Chicago Tribune October 14, 1920
MAYOR OPENS NEW BRIDGE
The photo on the right is the scene at the new $2,000,000 Franklin-Orleans bridge was opened to traffic yesterday. Mayor Thompson is just about to cut the ribbon and admit traffic to the span. The autos and trucks are part of a parader. The view shows the bridge from the south, looking north.
BOMBS, daylight fireworks, and a parade of thousands of gayly decorated trucks and automobiles signalized the opening of the new Franklin-Orleans street bridge to traffic yesterday.
The bridge, which with its approaches cost nearly $2,000,000 and has been four years in building, affords a long needed direct connection between the loop and the warehouse and business district of the near northwest side.
Nearly every large truck user in the city was represented by from one to a dozen motor trucks in the parade. The bridge is especially adapted to the use of heavy vehicles and it is expected to divert much of the heavy traffic which now jams the Wells and Lake street bridges.
Thousands watched the parade, which was led by Mayor Thompson and James H. Channon, president of the Franklin-Orleans Bridge association, which has worked nearly ten years to bring about construction of the bridge.
The trucks and automobiles met in Grant park and the parade wound through the loop via Monroe, State, Randolph, and Franklin streets to the bridge, where the red, white, and blue ribbon which stretched across the approach was broken by Mayor Thompson and the procession passed over.
Chicago Tribune, October 25, 1920
Engineering and Contractor
December 29, 1920
January 26, 1921
Wacker Drive Dedication Plaque
1928 Transit Map
The opening of the Franklin-Orleans Bridge coincided with Firestone’s national campaign called “Ship By Truck.”
“Ship By Truck”
March 7, 1920
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