CHICAGO (CBS)—Want to own a piece of Chicago history? The City of Chicago is selling a historic bridge from Chicago’s industrial age.
A pony-truss-style bridge used heavily during Chicago’s Industrial Revolution, the Chicago Avenue bridge was built in 1914. It’s available for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, but has fallen into disrepair and the city desperately needs to replace it.
A city ordinance that requires historic landmarks be listed for sale means the city can’t just take the bridge apart, however.
Pedestrians who use the rickety bridge say they’re weary about its age.
Avondale resident Ryan Paul crossed the bridge Monday with his phone safely tucked away–just in case.
“I usually put my phone in my pocket as I’m walking across it because I’m afraid I might lose it in the bounce,” Paul said.
CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports on the future of the Chicago Avenue bridge.
“A municipality can come forward, a collector can come forward and offer to take the bridge and store it at a different location,” Gerasole said.
The bridges were the workhorses for the City of Chicago as buildings began rising from the dust back in the early part of the 19th century.
Today, it’s not quite wide enough for Chicago’s traffic flow.
“The bridges raised and lowered so industrial barges could pass on the river beneath,” Gerasole reports. “The river has changed so much in recent years it’s becoming a place of recreation.”
The bridge could be sold to another government body, a collector, or someone else with the financial means to take ownership of the bridge, restore it, and keep it at another location.
In order to take the bridge off the city’s hands, a buyer would have to sign an agreement that they will maintain the bridge and its historic features, and assume all future legal financial responsibility, possibly including an agreement to hold the city harmless of liability for the bridge. The buyer also would have to pay all costs for removing the bridge and hauling it to another location.
Proposals must be submitted to the Chicago Department of Transportation by July 13.