Encyclopedia ofChicago
Historical Source
Historical Source
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Outer Drive Bridge Dedication, 1937

 

 

 

Outer Drive Bridge Dedication, 1937

After multiple delays, the Link Bridge (also called the Outer Drive Bridge) was officially opened on October 5, 1937, with President Franklin Roosevelt in attendance. This was a much larger project than might appear, given the engineering challenges that had to be met and the massive amount of structural steel required. The day was observed with great fanfare, including a celebratory spray from the new fireboat Fred Busse, named after the mayor at the time the Plan of Chicago was released in 1909. In the first half-hour following the 1 p.m. opening, 36,000 vehicles crossed the bridge, with traffic slowed by the distribution of souvenir windshield stickers. A lower level was subsequently added. While the bridge eased congestion on Michigan Avenue, the roadway's sharp angles immediately proved to be a problem. A little before 3 a.m. on October 8, two different northbound drivers were the first of many who failed to negotiate the turns and suffered an accident. This hazard was not finally corrected until the completion of the current S-curve in 1986.