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VAN BUREN STREET BRIDGE #2
Chicago Tribune, September 7, 1858
VAN BUREN STREET BRIDGE.—Greatly to the relief of the very large travel seeking the heart of our city from our southwestern suburbs, Van Buren street Bridge is finished and in operation.
It is a credible wooden structure, rising high enough above the river to allow the passage of tugs and canal boats as at the other new bridges.
The residents of that section may well rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for unless gifted with patience proportionate to their need, that should long ago by all human rules have become the profanest portion of Chicago. They are all right now or will be when the approaches to the bridge on either side are improved by being filled to grade. At present the ascent is too steep for loaded trains.
VAN BUREN STREET BRIDGE #3
Chicago Tribune, February 19, 1867
BRIDGE AT VAN BUREN STREET.—On Saturday last the contract for rebuilding the Van Buren Street bridge was awarded by the Board of Public Works to Messrs. Fox & Howard of this city, their bids being for rebuilding, with masonry the old pier, still standing $4,800; and rebuilding the old bridge $13,470, the contractors and furnishing the material. The bridge will have iron top and bottom cords, and wooden braces, and in general structure will resemble that of Clark street (#5). It will be commenced in about a month from the present time.
Remains of Van Buren Street Bridge #3 After the Great Fire of 1871
VAN BUREN STREET BRIDGE #4
Chicago Tribune, May 5, 1872
VAN BUREN STREET BRIDGE.—To reduce the distance between Madison and Twelfth street bridges, it was determined to rebuild Van Buren street next in order. How great the distance is between Madison and Twelfth streets, citizens generally are disagreed. They know full well that at State street it is expected a mile, but those whose only prospect of reaching the West Side from the business portion of the city on October 9, were convinced that the distance was fully five times as great as on any other occasion. Especially were the teamsters of that opinion, as might be judged from the reckless $20 and $80 charges extorted by them on that memorable occasion. Van Buren street bridge was rapidly erected, to the comfort of the dwellers on both sides of the river, and was ready for travel a month before time, when the present year of promise stepped into the ill-omened shoes of the gloomy year that is dead. It is 163 feet long, and has a clear width of 32 feet, and was built by E. Sweet, Jr., & Co., for the moderate sum of $13,200. The secret of this low figure lay in the fact that the centre pier was fire-proof, having been constructed of stone, and stood uninjured, while the bridge burned to cinders. The necessity for having stone piers throughout seems to have been forcibly illustrated.
Van Buren Street Bridge #4
Robinson Fire Map
VAN BUREN STREET BRIDGE #5
Scientific American, May 11, 1895
THE VAN BUREN STREET DRAWBRIDGE OF THE METROPOLITAN
WEST SIDE ELEVATED RAILROAD OF CHICAGO.
We recently illustrated the operations of construction of the Metropolitan West Side Elevated Railroad of Chicago, the most impressive example of an elevated railroad system that has as yet been constructed. In our present issue we illustrate the Van Buren Street bridge, an element of the same system, which crosses the Chicago River, supporting two tracks of the Elevated Railroad. The bridge is of the bascule type, opening in the center for vessels to pass through, the trusses rising backward and upward, each one moving in a vertical plane. Its construction is peculiar in the omission of trunnions, the great girders rolling on a segment of a circle, one of which is formed on the backward prolongation of each of them.
THE VAN BUREN STREET BRIDGE, CHICAGO
DlAGRAM OF CONSTRUCTION.
On reference to the cut, two small diagrams will be seen illustrating the bridge, open and closed. The rocking operation of the bridge is made clear in these cuts. They indicate two additional features. The working strllts, as they are called, by which the bridge is opened and shut, constitute one of these features. One such strut for each half of the bridge is connected to the point representing the center, from which the circular segments are struck, and runs back horizontally or nearly so to the machine for opening. In the two diagrams this working strut is indicated by a single line extending from such center back along the fixed roadbed. The cuts also show how part of the deck carried by the trusses, as they rock backward, descends beneath the level of the fixed decks on either side of the river.
Referring to the general view of the bridge, it will be seen that each section of the bridge comprises three parallel trusses, each with a circular segment. For the circular segments to roll on, there are provided steel ways on which are projections or teeth of steel, which enter pockets in the faces of the segments. This insures alignment of the three trusses in their operation. On the right hand of the picture is seen the portion of roadway extending back of the center of curvature, which portion goes down when the bridge rises; it is cut off obliquely at its rear end, and a latch or link swings over this end, operating as a lock to prevent the bridge from being opened. There are also latches at the center of the bridge.
THE VAN BUREN STREET BRIDGE, CHICAGO
OPENING AND CLOSING MECHANISM.
The mechanism for opening and closing the bridge operates by means of the working strut. This is a bar carrying on its rear portion a rack and running nearly horizontally back from the center of curvature of the circular segment into the power houses. In the powerhouses are four 50 horse power electric motors, operating a train of gear wheels, the last of which wheels engage with the racks. When a rack is drawn backward, the section of the bridge rises; when a rack is projected forward, the section descends. Within the backward extension of the roadway just alluded to ballast is placed to bring the center of gravity into proper position. The effect of this is that the bridge naturally rests partly open, and if it is stirred from this position, tends to rock back and forth. The working struts are attached by pin connections to the central trusses; one strut operates each half of the bridge.
Assuming the bridge now to be closed, if it is desired to open it, the machinery is started so as to draw the racks backwara. As each rack moves, its first effect is to revolve a cam by which pin latches at the center of the span are withdrawn and the latches at the heels of the trusses, one of which is shown in the general view of the bridge, are swung backward, leaving the trusses free to move. As the motion continues, the bridge opens, twenty seconds sufficing for the entire operation. In closing, the reverse succession of operations takes place. The pin latches at the center are designed to prevent lateral movement and to insure the ends of the rails abutting in line ; the other latches hold the trusses closed Each truss may be treated as a cantilever, the tail girder representing the anchoring span.
We have referred to the counterpoise weights. They are placed within the tail girders and between them, beneath the railway floor. As these weights are sufficient to prevent the bridge from naturally coming to a horizontal position, in the closing operation force has to be applied to bring the end down. To work each half of the draw span, two of the fifty horsepower electric motors are provided, which are wired to operate together or alone. If by any accident the current is cut off, compressed air brakes are automatically applied, which instantly bring the bridge to rest.
In the closing process, before the ends come together the sections are automatically brought to a full stop, so that the final closing has to be performed with special care. A powerful emergency brake is supplied to guard against accidents, which brake can be made instantly to act upon the structure. It is believed that all these precautions and structural features make an accident impossible. Owing to the height of the bridge, it will have to be raised for comparatively few vessels, as most can freely pass under it.
One of the cuts shows the lifting mechanism placed beneath the road way, the under surface of the roadway or deck forming the ceiling, The general relation of the trusses to the abutments is shown in the larger diagram, giving a view partly in section of the structure, the open position being indicated by dotted lines. The small illustration gives a view of the deck of the bridge. The distant section in this cut is shown partly raised, a further descent of about three feet being required to complete the closing.
THE VAN BUREN STREET BRIDGE CHICAGO
Van Buren Street Bridge #5
The bridge in the background was the Metropolitan West Side Elevated Railway bridge.
VAN BUREN STREET BRIDGE #6
Chicago Tribune, December 6, 1956
The new $3,350,000 Van Buren st. bridge, under construction four years, was opened to traffic yesterday in a ceremony attended by Mayor Daley and other top city officials.
The development will speed flow of traffic between the downtown district and the west side. The old bridge, dating back to 1895, was taken out of service last January when construction of the new one reached the point where the old one had to be torn down.
The new bridge is 182 feet long and has four lanes for vehicle traffic.
Van Buren Street Bridge #6
Crowd at the new Van Buren st. bridge before barriers were lifted in dedication and opening ceremonies yesterday. Mayor Daley broke a bottle of water on structure during the rites.
VAN BUREN STREET TUNNEL
The Inter Ocean,March 2, 1890
THE NEW TUNNEL
The New York Engineering News, February 22, 1890, publishes the following descriptions of the new cable railway under tunnel under the Chicago River at Van Buren street:
In our issue of Dec. 7, a short account was given of the tunnel now under construction under the Chicago.River, at Chicago, Ill. Through the courtesy of Mr. SAMUEL G. ARTINGSTALL, C. E., the Chief Engineer, we are now enabled to present sections and the plan and profile of this interesting work.
The tunnel is being built by the West Chicago Street Railway Company, and as shown is being fitted for double-track cable traction. It crosses the Chicago River about 150 ft. north of Van Buren Street (see Fig. l), and at the shore ends it passes under several large buildings requiring underpinning and- essentially new foundations over the tunnel. The plan and profile show with sufficient clearness the general position of the tunnel with reference to the river and adjoining streets and buildings.
The tunnel will be lined with hard-burned brick laid as hereinafter described. Utica cement is specified for use when natural cement is to be employed. The concrete, however, is to be made of Portland cement mortar, with sand, and broken limestone in cubes not exceeding 3 ins. in any dimension. The concrete mortar will be one part cement to three parts sand by measure, and to this mortar six parts of the broken stone is to be added. This concrete is to be spread in successive 4-in. layers and thoroughly rammed with rammers 4 ins. in diameter and weighing not less than 2) lbs. each. The face stone, when used, is to be “Buff Bedford.” with beds and joints planed or bush hammered, and the rubble stone will be J oliet limestone as large in size as possible.
The tunnel, from the west line of Franklin to the east line of Clinton St., will be 1513 ft. long with the dimensions shown on the several sections. The gradients are given on the accompanying profile. The line is located upon private property, and besides passing under the buildings before referred to, also crosses under the tracks of the Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne 8; Chicago R. R., the Chicago & Alton R. R., and the Chicago, Burlington 8: Quincy R. R. on the approach to the Union Depot.
The ‘contractors for building the tunnel are responsible for the safety of the buildings, etc., under which the tunnel is driven. The contract generally specifies that before any work on the tunnel is commenced, all buildings must be underpinned by extending the foundations downwards below the level of the tunnel bottom according to such plans as the engineer may devise and the conditions demand. All trenches are to excavated in short lengths and securely supported by close oak sheeting, struts, braces, etc.; this sheeting shall be caulked in such places where water may be troublesome, or there is any liability of settlement by escape of semi-liquid material.
The Springer Building. between Clinton and Canal streets, will have its west front supported on steel girders resting on stone piers, with footings of Joliet limestone. The east front will be carried on steel girders resting on piers built of Anderson pressed clinker or Brand brick laid with very close joints in Utica cement mortar; concrete foundations will support these piers. The second floor of the building, and the first floor on Canal street, will also be carried on steel girders resting on common brick walls carried clear to the second story and supported on the side walls of the tunnel approach
The Altgelt Building, between the river and Market street, will require especial care in supporting it during the progress of the work. The river and Market street fronts will be carried on steel girders on Anderson brick piers, laid in Portland cement mortar. The foundations under the piers on the river front will be of concrete. 10 by 20 ft., capped at the dock line with Bedford stone, 2 ft. thick. The Market street piers will be of brick and a concrete base. The side walls of the building will be sup ported on cast-iron cylinders, indicated in the plan. The cylinders on the north side will be 6 ft. in diameter, and those on the south side 7 ft. in diameter, with metal 1% ins. thick, and 4% ins. internal flanges, bolted together by 1544115. bolts, spaced 5 ins. apart. These cylinders will be sunk by excavating the earth inside and forcing them into the ground. They will be located under the centre of the wall, filled with concrete after the base has reached firm bottom below the tunnel level, and each capped on top by a a granite block, 2 ft. thick by 4 ft. wide and 6 or 7 ft. long. Between these cylinders will then be turned brick arches, hacked and underpinned to existing walls by brick masonry of Anderson clinker pressed brick, laid in Utica cement mortar in an alternate header and stretcher bond.
After these cylinders are in place, and the walls of the building secure, the floors will be supported by temporary trusses until the tunnel is finished. After this the cast iron columns supporting the floors will be replaced on piers of concrete and timber crib work, as shown at the bottom of the inset illustration. This cribwork will be used for the purpose of distributing the weight over the surface of the tunnel while the concrete is wet. If sufflcient time can be gained before the load is applied its use will not be necessary.
The open approaches will be faced with Redford stone in regular courses ranging from 2 ft. to 18 in. in depth, and laid with an alternate header and
stretcher bond. The backing will be of Joliet limestone in courses of the same thickness as the face. Portland cement is alone to be used in this portion of the work, and the foundations below them will be of Portland cement concrete.
The tunnel portal will be made of Bedlord stone. as shown in the elevation on inset illustrations. The tunnel proper will be of brick masonry, in seven rings, or 32 ins. thick; excepting a length of 210 ft., under the railway tracks, where the thickness is increased. as shown on the drawings. The bricks will be laid longitudinally with the tunnel, with edges toward the centre and toothing joints. The joints must be perfectly tilled by pressing the brick into the mortar, and not made by attempting to force mortar between the bricks. The joints between courses shall not exceed one-half inch in thickness, and between the rings the joints shall not be less than one-half inch.
The tunnel masonry will be laid generally in Utica cement mortar. But the bricks in the three outer rings, under the river and for 100 ft. on each side, a total distance of 420 ft., and in the two outer rings in the rest of the tunnel, will be laid in and grouted with asphalt cement mortar. This mortar is to he made of pure Trinidad asphalt and gypsum, with generally one part asphalt to three parts gypsum; to be mixed on the ground and furnished hot, ready for use in small quantities as required. No remelting of set or cold asphalt mortar is permitted. The invert, the backing and the filling over the haunches and crown of the tunnel will be Portland cement concrete, well rammed in place.
For the river section the top of the concrete tilling will be covered with one inch in thickness of asphalt mortar, made as before described, and in this will be imbeddcd large flagstones, l2 ins. thick, with the joints grouted with asphalt mortar. The dock walls are to be built of Portland cement concrete, faced with Bedford stone in 2 ft. courses, and surmounted by a coping 2 ft. thick by 8 ft. wide.
Under the centre line of the tunnel, there will be a l2-in. drain pipe, with man-holes for cleaning 200 feet apart. Drain tiles, 4 ins. in diameter, will also be laid outside of the tunnel and about 50 feet apart, and these will connect with 4-in. cast iron pipe leading to the main drain. The main drain discharges into a sump on the east side, at which point there is a drainage pump and a 6-ft. brick well leading to the surface.
The river portion will be built in a cotter dam, one half at a time, and the specification requires the contractor to provide at all times afree and open channel for vessels. The contractor will not be permitted to draw any piles, sheeting, etc., used in this portion of the work, but he must remove all obstructions and cut oil‘ all timbers at least 18 ft. below city datum- .
The plans for this tunnel have been prepared by Mr. SAMUEL G. ARTINGSTALL, C. E., who is the engineer of the work. The contract for building, which has just been let to Fitzsimmons & Connell for the sum of $750,000, calls for its completion by Feb. 1, 1892. This contract does not include the paving, tracklaying and filling over the invert under the tracks. Work has already been commenced on the coffer dam at the west end of the tunnel at Clinton street. Mr. CHARLES WESTON, who has been appoint-ed resident engineer, was lately resident engineer of the Lake View tunnel under Lake Michigan and Mr. R. LEACH has succeeded him in that work.
Chicago Tribune, October 17, 1910
Under the supervision of Chief Engineer John Z. Murphy and a dozen superintendents and inspectors of the Chicago Railways company the rebuilt Van Buren street tunnel was tested yesterday. It was found a car could cover its entire length of 1,800 feet in an even sixty seconds.
Car No. 807 was the first to make the through the bore, and for an hour and a half it was put through all sorts of stunts to determine whether the trolley wires, tracks and switches were properly placed.
Cars of the Twelfth street line—forty in number—will be sent through the tunnel today without any formal opening of the structure, and engineers watching the tests predicted their running time to the western terminal will be cut down five minutes, while other lines will benefit from the reduction of congestion crossing the river. The new route of the Twelfth street line will be by Clinton street to the tunnel, through Franklin street, east to Dearborn, north to Adams, west to Franklin, and south to the tunnel.
Electric Trolley Weekly, November 26, 1910
The rebuilding of the three tunnels under the Chicago river and the preparation for their utilization by the cars of the Chicago Railways Company is coincident with the remarkable rehabilitation of surface traction facilities in Chicago under the direction of the Board of Supervising Engineers Chicago Traction as well as with the plans for an unobstructed river channel which, in response to popular demand, the federal government has insisted upon as an aid to Chicago commerce. The three tunnels, each of which accommodates two tracks, are as follows:
- 1. The Van Buren street tunnel under the south branch of the Chicago river, located between Clinton and Franklin streets, just north of Van Buren street. This tunnel has a total length of 1,517 ft. between Franklin street, in the business center, and Clinton street, on the West Side, and is divided into an east approach of 112 ft., a tunnel length of 1,095 ft. and a west approach of 316 ft.
2 The Washington street tunnel extending along along the center line of Washington street, under the south branch of the Chicago river at \\ashington street, has a total length, with approaches, of 1,520 ft. between Franklin street, in the business district, and Clinton street, on the West Side.
3. The La Salle street tunnel, extending along the center line of La Salle street under the main Chicago river between Randolph street, in the business district, and Michigan street, on the North Side, has a total length of 1,887 ft., of which 1,170 ft. of the old tunnel was brick arch, about 180 ft. of iron girders, with brick arches between, and the remaining 537 ft. about equally divided between the approaches.
Progress of the Work
As stated in ELECTRIC TRACTION WEEKLY, issue of October 22, 1910, the Van Buren street tunnel, which had been in course of construction since July, 1906 was on October 16 officially opened to traffic for small cars, and steps are being taken to remove certain steel columns supporting the elevated railway structure which now prevent the operation of the large through-route cars through this tunnel. As reported in our issue of November 19, 1910, the Washington street tunnel is nearly completed and the installation of car tracks is proceeding while the tunnel builders, George W. Jackson, Inc., are finishing the work at the east approach. The La Salle street tunnel work is well advanced. The War Department has issued a permit naming December 2 as the date upon which the river current may be shut off at Lockport and shipping may be denied passage and the work of pouring concrete about the twin steel tubes which have been constructed in a shipyard may be commenced and the tunnels to La Salle street then sunk into place. As it requires several days to float the tubes to La Salle street, they have been started on their journey.
History of The Tunnels
The Van Buren street tunnel was built between the years of 1890 and 1894 by the West Chicago Street Railroad Company to accommodate the cable line passed which was then being built on Blue Island avenue. The tunnel was a three-centered brick arch of 30-ft. span at the springing line and 20 ft. in height from the invert to the crown of the arch. The west 500 ft. of the tunnel is directly under the Pennsylvania Railroad Company’s yard, while the east 300 ft. support four seven-story brick buildings. The Washington and La Salle street tunnels, very similar in general form of construction, were built with the proceeds of city bonds, the former in 1867 and the latter between 1869 and 1871. In the late 80’s when the street railway companies were contemplating a change from horse cars to cable lines, the Washington and La Salle street tunnels were turned over to them for car operation on condition that the roof of the Washington street tunnel be lowered so as to provide a depth of water over it of 17 ft. instead of 14 ft. This work was done by the company in 1889. In September, 1901, the Secretary of War, in obedience to an act of Congress of April 27, 1904, notified the Chicago Union Traction Company to lower the roof of the Van Buren street tunnel to provide a depth of water over it of at least 22 ft. and also similarly notified the city of Chicago with regard to the Washington street and La Salle street tunnels.
The maximum depth over the tunnels in 1901 was but 18 ft. while the depth at mean water level was as low as 16 ft. The increase in the draft and tonnage of lake vessels made the tunnels a barrier to shipping and this was particularly noticeable when the river level was lowered by reversal of the current due to the opening of the Sanitary and Ship Canal.
The work of lowering the Van Buren street tunnel and removing the roofs of the Washington and La Salle street tunnels was begun by the receivers of the Chicago Union Traction Company in 1906. The Van Buren street tunnel was acquired by the Chicago Railways Company in 1907. On February 11, 1907. the city council passed an ordinance providing for the completion by the Chicago Railways Company of the the work of lowering the river section of the Van Buren street tunnel and the reconstruction of the Washington street and La Salle street tunnels.
The work on the Van Buren Street tunnel, as begun by the Chicago Union Traction Company, consisted of the building of a new steel girder and concrete roof in the river section, the building of bulk heads at each end of the new roof, the cleaning out of old tracks, cables, yokes, etc., lowering the invert and underpinning the old foundation for practically the entire length of the tunnel, rebuilding the pump chamber and well and removing the old roof in the river section. The completion of this work and the equipment of the tunnel for modern operation has been noted.
The work of removing the Washington street tunnel which, in order to comply with the act of Congress was begun under the direction of the receivers of the Chicago Union Traction Company, consisted of the building of a new steel girder and concrete roof over the river section, tearing out the south wall of the roadway, building new foundations in the old foot passage of the tunnel, building water tight bulkheads and finally removing the river section of the old tunnel roof and the center pier of the Washington street bridge, which rested upon the tunnel. This work was completed about October, 1907.
The New Washington Tunnel
About a year later plans were prepared for the construction of a new tunnel and the western approach, designated as section No. 1, was completed by George W. Jackson, Inc., in 1909. In January, 1910, the same company began work on section No. 2, which embraced the east approach and the river section. This work, which is now practically completed, has constituted not only an important but a novel engineering feat, a plan new in tunnel construction having been devised by George W. Jackson, Inc., and used for the first time in this work. When the old tunnel in the river section was torn out, a flat roof, consisting of steel girders supporting a concrete slab, was put in, mainly with intent of complying with the government’s requirements that the old arch be removed as an obstruction to navigation. It was at this time not determined in exactly what manner the flat roof built just above the old invert tunnel would be utilized in building the new tunnel. However, Mr. Jackson and his engineers decided that this roof, as built under the bed of the river, would serve satisfactorily for the roof of the new tunnel and that he would proceed to build concrete side walls under it to support it. An ac companying cross section shows how this was accomplished. Tunnel headings were started and the clay removed in the space represented by the base of the wall to be built. Forms were built, steel reinforcement rods placed and the concrete put in. When the walls had been completed at the base, excavation above this wall and up to the old foundation walls was carried forward. The work was done in sections and lagging at the sides of the walls left in place and all necessary provisions made for the proper support of the old wall until the new wall was ready to support its load. After the new walls had been built, the old invert and the core below were taken out, exposing the new concrete walls. About 200 ft. of this work was done under the main bed of the river.
There still remained 996 ft. of Section 2 to be built, including the east approach, and much the same process was pursued in building the concrete arch. Numerous headings were established, in the manner shown in one of the illustrations, and the clay and rock, removed by means thereof, corresponded to the mold which it was desired the new concrete wall and arch should occupy. The walls of the excavated arch were lined, as rapidly as headings were advanced, with the timbers constituting the forms for the concrete arch; reinforcement was laid and the concrete put in, as the excavation progressed. Later, the core of clay was taken out, exposing the forms, the removal of the latter revealing the finished arch, which has a width of 28 ft. The two tracks of the tunnel are separated up to within 100 ft. of the portals with a curtain wall which, except under the river section proper, was built at the same time as the remainder of the arch and in the manner above described, so that the removal of the core was in two bores as shown in one of the illustrations. The concrete invert for the new tunnel was then put in place. The Chicago Railways Company will proceed with the installation of car tracks as soon as material can be carried into the tunnel and while the tunnel builders are finishing the work at the east approach.
The Board of Supervising Engineers has carried out its intention to build the Washington street tunnel in harmonious accord with the future subway system. Accordingly the track in the present west approach is laid on a temporary grade of 9 per cent, and is, for present use, supported on temporary trestle work consisting of bents on 10-ft. centers with stringers between them to support the ties. The east approach is on a temporary 10 per cent grade. The rail now laid on the west approach is a low T-rail. A double flooring over the ties completes the approach. As will be noted from the profile drawing, the permanent track grade from the subway system into the tunnel is intended to be 2.9 per cent on the west approach and 3 per cent on the east approach. The permanent grade in the tunnel itself is 5.3 per cent. The track work in the tunnel proper will have no unusual features, the subgrade and ballast resting on the heavy concrete invert, which has a minimum thickness of 2 ft. 10 ins. The Board of Supervising Engineers expect the opening of this tunnel to have an immediate effect in relieving the traffic congestion, towards the accomplishment\ of which the efforts of the board have been directed during the past two years. With the Washington street bridge closed to traffic since the commencement of work on the tunnel and with the frequent interruptions to traffic due to the necessity of opening the other bridges over the south branch to permit the passage of vessels, the operating ingenuity of the company and the patience of the public have been severely taxed.
La Salle Street Tunnel
The designs for reconstruction of the La Salle Street tunnel made in 1906 contemplated a new roof in the river section. But in November, 1906, water broke through the invert as the result of a leak and flooded the tunnel. After ineffectual attempts were made to repair the damage it was decided to abandon the old tunnel and to remove it by dredging a deep trench along the outside of the walls, then drilling the walls and roof and blasting. All work of removing the roof and side walls to provide the necessary depth of water required by the government, was completed by April, 1907. Various methods of reconstructing the tunnel were proposed. Owing to the fact that the United States government objected to the obstruction to navigation which would result from the construction of the river section by the open cut method, a double bore steel shell, to be erected in dry dock, floated in place, lined with concrete and sunk to position upon foundations previously prepared, was later designed and finally adopted.
Chicago Surface Line training cars emerging from both sides of the Van Buren Street Tunnel.
Van Buren Street Tunnel
Van Buren Street Tunnel
Sanborn Fire Insurance Map
All service though the Van Buren Street tunnel ended on March 11, 1952.