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Infrastructure Watch

The sixth Wells Street bridge is slowly coalescing at Wells and the river. The fifth, being replaced piecemeal, lasted 91 years with only one major renovation (in the '40s). The Chicago Architecture Blog rounds up some facts on the bridge's traffic over the years, illustrating the incredible demands on the structure: multiple modes of transport, and 400 train crossings and 100,000+ users each day. The post also details the ancestral Wells Street bridges, with short life spans but important strides in engineering. The wooden ones were destroyed by floods and fires. The fourth was the first in Chicago to go electric, in 1896, but came down shortly thereafter at the behest of the Department of War (navigational matters). The fifth is legendary. [CAB, previously, photo: Jeremy Atherton, 2007/Wikipedia Commons]