|click images for larger view (recommended)|
|photograph: Bob Johnson|
According to the Historic Bridges website, the Wells Street Bridge, whose main span is 268 feet long, was dedicated on February 11, 1922. Big Bill Thompson was mayor then, and if I can say, not that great a mayor, but for being a buffoon and a boodler and an enabler of Al Capone, he sure built a lot of important stuff.
CDOT Commissioner Gabe Klein noted that the bridge was last rehabbed in the mid-1950's:
Construction crews behind me will replace the trusses and all the steel framing for the lower level roadway and the upper level railway. Also the guts of it, the mechanical and electric components will also be replaced. This is a very historic bridge and those elements - the railings, the bridge houses, the major structural components - will be replaced but will retain the 1920's look of this bridge.
We have crews working around the clock, 24 hours on 12 hour shifts on an accelerated construction schedule that's designed to keep CTA service interruptions at a minimum and in fact last night, if you were out here and saw, they actually removed the leaf that they're working on and they're now prepping it to put that new leaf in that's out there on a barge.
“This is an incredible feat,” said Klein. “It's really like performing open heart surgery on a living patient.” Although trains were still running up to 10:00 p.m. last Friday, the construction crews, as Klein indicated, got the old leaf removed by the end of Saturday.
This will actually be the first time that the city has replaced large sections of an active bridge that also carries CTA trains.
When this project is completed at the end of November, we will have extended the life of this critical piece of infrastructure by another 75 years or more.
|Forrest Claypool, Gabe Klein, Rahm Emanuel|
|Tower 18, Lake and Wells|
bridge-down website and place your bets.
“I'm not minimizing it,” said the Mayor. “It is going to be an inconvenience . You can't spin your way out of that.” He also said it wouldn't stop him from his usual habit from using the CTA to commute to work a couple times a week.
“We are in the process of now completing 20 million dollars of improvements on the Green Line, repairs and removal of slow zones in anticipation and preparation for the complete rebuilding of the Red Line south beginning in May. We will be literally building a brand new railroad from 95th street to 22nd street, cutting 20 minutes off the daily commute of south side customers and enhancing service throughout the Red Line and throughout the system.”
Now if we can just get him to do something about all those forward-facing seats. I'd feel a lot better about my time on the ‘L’ if I wasn't forced to spend it staring into someone's crotch.