Washington Street Tunnel (Chicago)
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The Washington Street Tunnel was the first traffic tunnel under the Chicago River. J.L. Lake was awarded the contract to construct the tunnel in July 1867 and its construction was completed January 1, 1869. This tunnel was 1605 feet long, from Franklin Avenue west to Clinton Avenue, and cost $517,000.
On August 12, 1888 the West Chicago Street Railroad Company began cable car service which lasted until August 19, 1906.
The reversing of the Chicago River exposed the tunnel in 1900 and several ships ran aground on it, damaging the roof. A wider, deeper replacement was built under the original. George W. Jackson was the contractor for the rebuilt tunnel. It opened to electric streetcar service on January 29, 1911.
Plans for subways
Plans were made to incorporate the tunnel into a high-level subway to run under Washington Street between Clinton Street and Grand Park. The plans were expanded after the Second World War to add an additional high-level subway running parallel to the Washington Street line under Jackson Street, similarly using the tunnel located between Jackson and Van Buren Streets. Both would be tied into another subway tunnel to be dug under Clinton Street, proposed in the interim. The only construction accomplished in advance of these plans were the pair of portals in the Eisenhower Expressway median, 200 feet east of Halsted Street, constructed in 1952 simultaneously with the pair of portals for the Blue Line, and the double-wide station built at Peoria Street in 1964 to accommodate the anticipated platform north of the UIC-Halsted platform for the Blue Line. In 1951-1952, the plans were modified to use the Washington Street subway as a busway rather than as a train tunnel, while Clinton and Jackson tunnels were merged and remained a rail plan. The plan was cancelled in April 1962, although the design and placement of the Peoria Street station house went unchanged.
- Method of Reconstructing the Washington Street Tunnel of the Chicago Railways Company; a New and Economical Method of Constructing Tunnels, Engineering and Contracting, Vol. XXXIII, No. 16 (April 20, 1910); page 356. Note: Illustrated.
- Borzo, Greg (2012). Chicago Cable Cars. The History Press. p. 136-139. ISBN 978-1-60949-327-1.
- Lind, Alan R. (1979). Chicago Surface Lines: An Illustrated History (3rd ed.). Transit History Press. p. 210-215. ISBN 0-934732-00-0. LCCN 74-75870.
- Chicago Fire Insurance Maps Volume 1. Sanborn Map. 1906. pp. 19s, 75w.
- "Tunnels". Encyclopedia of Chicago. Chicago Historical Society and The Newberry Library. 2005. Retrieved 17March 2013.
- "Google Maps". Google. 2013. Retrieved 28Mar2013.
- Chicago Department of Subways and Traction, A Comprehensive Plan for the Extension of the Subway System of the City of Chicago Including Provision for the Widening of E. and W. Congress Street (Chicago: City of Chicago, October 30, 1939), 2-3, III; and City of Chicago, Department of Subways and Superhighways, Second [sic] Annual Report of the Department of Subways and Superhighways, City of Chicago, for the Year Ending December 31, 1940 (Chicago: City of Chicago, December 31, 1940), 1.
- City of Chicago, Department of Streets and Superhighways, Eighth Annual Report of the Department of Subways and Superhighways, City of Chicago, for the Year Ending December 31, 1946.
- City of Chicago, Department of Streets and Superhighways, Sixth Annual Report of the Department of Subways and Superhighways, City of Chicago, for the Year Ending December 31, 1944.
- City of Chicago, Department of Streets and Superhighways, Fourteenth Annual Report of the Department of Subways and Superhighways, City of Chicago, for the Year Ending December 31, 1952, 36-37.
- City of Chicago, Department of Development and Planning, Chicago Plan Commission, 1963 Annual Report (Chicago: City of Chicago, 1963), 22.
- Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago Transit Authority's Proposed $315,000,000 Transit Expansion and Improvement Program (Chicago: Chicago Transit Authority, 1957), New Horizons for Chicago Metropolitan Area (Chicago: Chicago Transit Authority, 1958), and T.E.D. 8-320 (map) (Chicago, Chicago Transit Authority, September 30, 1958).
- Chicago Transit Board, Plan for Expanding Rapid Transit Service in the Central Area of Chicago (Chicago: Chicago Transit Board, April 20, 1962), 1, 6-7, 10-11.
- Lind (1979), pp. 216-217.