Grand Avenue Bridge Closed Until Oct. 7 After 'Worse-Than-Expected' Conditions Revealed

From bikers to buses, commutes are getting snarled in a major way following the surprise two-week shutdown of the Grand Avenue bridge.

The Chicago Department of Transportation decided to make the pinch repairs Monday night after a weekend inspection of the 100-year-old bascule bridge revealed what the Tribune called "worse-than-expected" deterioration.

The portion of the bridge over the North Branch of the river remains closed until the morning of Oct. 7 when the city says it will be reopened. Traffic (pedestrians, too) is being redirected around the bridge via Halsted Street, LaSalle Street and Chicago Avenue. The Grand bus (#65) is following a similar detour.

According to the Tribune, CDOT said most of the city's bascule bridges were only intended to have a 50-year lifespan. Built in 1913, the Grand Avenue bridge and others like it have long outlived their expected use.

CDOT says a full rehabilitation is slated about five years from now. The bridge was last rehabbed in 1974.

According to Transportation for America, Illinois ranks 35th for structural deficiency of its bridges with 2,311 considered structurally deficient -- almost 9 percent. According to their most recent study, 9.8 percent of the bridges in Cook County get a failing grade.

The Grand Avenue bridge didn't make the latest cut as a structurally deficient bridge according to the report, though the recently-rehabbed Wells Street bridge was among the downtown area offenders.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user swanksalot.



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