Digging Wells in The 78

Earlier this year, much ado was made about the extension of Wells Street southward through the province that will one day become the bustling mixed-use neighborhoodlet called The 78.  Construction crews have continued to construct, confounding COVID, and a nice, smooth concrete street now exists where previously there was only a cracked and broken slab of history.  But the Wells-Wentworth Connector doesn’t yet connect Wells and Wentworth.  

November 2020 photo of the Wells-Wentworth Connector under construction (Courtesy of YoChicago!)
November 2020 photo of the Wells-Wentworth Connector under construction (Courtesy of YoChicago!)

As you can see in this photograph taken from the roof of 727 West Madison by YoChicago!, hard hats are working on a pesky bridge that’s in the way.

The bridge in question helps lower the Canadian National freight train tracks from the Saint Charles Air Line bridge over the Chicago River a little closer to ground level.  

When the connector is complete, Well Street will diverge into northbound and southbound sides here and flow around a central bridge abutment, then maneuver eastward to line up with Wentworth.

November 2020 photo of the Wells-Wentworth Connector under construction (Courtesy of YoChicago!)
November 2020 photo of the Wells-Wentworth Connector under construction (Courtesy of YoChicago!)

Just to the north of this bridge, you can still see the scars from the  tracks that used to bring trains into Chicago from the west and turn them north in the direction of Grand Central Station.  The station is gone. The tracks are gone.  All that remains is the embankments and a non-functioning bridge.

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at chicagoarchitectureinfo@gmail.com.

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