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Author Topic: Bridges built to become movable, but never operated.  (Read 3481 times)

SteveG1988

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Bridges built to become movable, but never operated.
« on: April 30, 2018, 03:47:54 PM »

While bored after driving down I-85,65,10 to get to I-59 in the truck...i looked into why I-10 at the MS/LA state line has a high bridge that has oddly placed expansion joints. It just so happens that when it was built in the late 60s NASA wanted it to be movable because of a planned "Nova" rocket that was to be bigger than the Saturn V, and would need to go up the Pearl River from Michaud to Stennis. It requires a look from the side to see the original intent of the bridge design.

Are there any other bridges like this?



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Re: Bridges built to become movable, but never operated.
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2018, 03:52:28 PM »

The Fairview Lift Bridge on the Missouri River Yellowstone River in North Dakota (named after Fairview, MT) was only ever lifted once after its construction in 1913. It served railroad, road and railroad, then pedestrian traffic. The Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers, if I recall correctly, hardly see any commercial boat traffic at all, if ever, so it's no surprise. A lot of other movable bridges on the Missouri and Yellowstone, especially in the Dakotas, were rarely operated.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2018, 04:00:09 PM by index »
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abefroman329

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Re: Bridges built to become movable, but never operated.
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2018, 04:25:07 PM »

Memorial Bridge (between DC and VA) used to be movable, but is no longer movable.  There was also a ceremonial landing spot slightly upriver on the DC side where dignitaries and heads of state could arrive by ship.
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abefroman329

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Re: Bridges built to become movable, but never operated.
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2018, 04:26:55 PM »

I once heard a possibly-apocryphal story that the Chicago River drawbridges are operated so infrequently, a single operator can move from bridge to bridge and open and close the bridges in succession when they need to be.
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Re: Bridges built to become movable, but never operated.
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2018, 04:46:50 PM »

I once heard a possibly-apocryphal story that the Chicago River drawbridges are operated so infrequently, a single operator can move from bridge to bridge and open and close the bridges in succession when they need to be.


I wonder if a good indicator of infrequent operation is that the railroad bridges on the river are left closed or down, when normally movable railroad bridges are left raised or opened.
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abefroman329

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Re: Bridges built to become movable, but never operated.
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2018, 05:23:50 PM »

I once heard a possibly-apocryphal story that the Chicago River drawbridges are operated so infrequently, a single operator can move from bridge to bridge and open and close the bridges in succession when they need to be.


I wonder if a good indicator of infrequent operation is that the railroad bridges on the river are left closed or down, when normally movable railroad bridges are left raised or opened.

Now that I think about it, I think the storyteller was talking only about the road bridges.
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TheArkansasRoadgeek

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Re: Bridges built to become movable, but never operated.
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2018, 06:18:17 PM »

I wonder if a good indicator of infrequent operation is that the railroad bridges on the river are left closed or down, when normally movable railroad bridges are left raised or opened.
The Junction Bridge in Little Rock, Arkansas is a retired railroad-turned-pedestrian bridge spanning the Arkansas River. It is left raised for boat traffic that the river see frequently.
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Beltway

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Re: Bridges built to become movable, but never operated.
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2018, 11:17:26 PM »

West Point, VA bridge over Pamunkey River.  Completed in 2007, high-level bascule span with 55 feet of vertical navigational clearance when closed.  Built to allow a future steel mill and shipping docks to be built upriver.  Bridge openings not needed currently, but VDOT opens it once a month to test the machinery.

Skanska and PB both worked for VDOT to construct and design the $90M double-leaf bascule bridge of the Pamunkey River in West Point, Virginia. The project site is surrounded by several historic communities and sensitive wetlands. The new bridge features four lanes, a separate outside shoulder for bicycle traffic and a double-leaf bascule span over the 100-foot-wide navigation channel.
https://www.usa.skanska.com/what-we-deliver/projects/57211/Pamunkey-River-Bridge/

On the west side of town, the 5,354 ft long Eltham Bridge spans the Pamunkey River and adjacent marsh land and railroad tracks with a total of 49 spans.  The bridge over the Pamunkey River also included a 248 ft long steel girder double leaf bascule span.
http://www.stalite.com/project_details.php?id=17
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Re: Bridges built to become movable, but never operated.
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2018, 09:11:32 AM »

https://goo.gl/maps/mTwLdoHJmb62  This bridge on Rt. 130 was built as a lift bridge, but never operated as such.  As you can see, the guardrail is continuous thru the bridge.  NJDOT recently went in and took out parts of the bridge that would've allowed it to actually work if it actually functioned, probably to use as spare parts in other lift bridges.  A similar lift bridge a few miles to the north is operational, although rarely used.  A fixed span is currently being built to replace that one.

Further north, near the Brooklawn Circles on US 130 is this grated bridge:  https://goo.gl/maps/YcPg5bsuJFp  Never gave it any though until I was on a side road one day at a park, when I noticed it was actually built as a bascule drawbridge! (trees block the GSV from viewing the bridge)  I've never seen anything that indicates it was ever operated though.  Even recent studies and public meetings to replace the bridge never brought up any history of its operation.  The nearby parallel Conrail railroad tracks and NJ 47 don't appear to have been built as drawbridges either.
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SteveG1988

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Re: Bridges built to become movable, but never operated.
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2018, 02:50:18 AM »

https://goo.gl/maps/mTwLdoHJmb62  This bridge on Rt. 130 was built as a lift bridge, but never operated as such.  As you can see, the guardrail is continuous thru the bridge.  NJDOT recently went in and took out parts of the bridge that would've allowed it to actually work if it actually functioned, probably to use as spare parts in other lift bridges.  A similar lift bridge a few miles to the north is operational, although rarely used.  A fixed span is currently being built to replace that one.

Further north, near the Brooklawn Circles on US 130 is this grated bridge:  https://goo.gl/maps/YcPg5bsuJFp  Never gave it any though until I was on a side road one day at a park, when I noticed it was actually built as a bascule drawbridge! (trees block the GSV from viewing the bridge)  I've never seen anything that indicates it was ever operated though.  Even recent studies and public meetings to replace the bridge never brought up any history of its operation.  The nearby parallel Conrail railroad tracks and NJ 47 don't appear to have been built as drawbridges either.


Probably like the big bayou canot bridge, built for the eventuality of it becoming navigatable.
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Stephane Dumas

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Re: Bridges built to become movable, but never operated.
« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2018, 03:05:28 PM »

PQ-201 bridge who span the Soulanges Canal at Les Cedres was rebuilt as a movable bridge if the Soulanges Canal got a new life for recreationnal boats.

The Sainte-Anne Bridge who link Chicoutimi and Chicoutimi-Nord (now all amalgated to Saguenay) was built as a movable bridge but no boats had crossed the bridge when it opened in the 1930s. It's currently in use as a bicycle/pedestrian path.
There some vintage photos on this French site. http://cybernaute.com/robert.dufour/page32.htm
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Roadrunner75

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Re: Bridges built to become movable, but never operated.
« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2018, 11:46:41 AM »

Further north, near the Brooklawn Circles on US 130 is this grated bridge:  https://goo.gl/maps/YcPg5bsuJFp  Never gave it any though until I was on a side road one day at a park, when I noticed it was actually built as a bascule drawbridge! (trees block the GSV from viewing the bridge)  I've never seen anything that indicates it was ever operated though.  Even recent studies and public meetings to replace the bridge never brought up any history of its operation.  The nearby parallel Conrail railroad tracks and NJ 47 don't appear to have been built as drawbridges either.
I remember when that bridge was reconstructed in the early 80s - I thought it was a complete rebuild at the time, but apparently it wasn't.  From the road deck standpoint it's a huge improvement - I vaguely recall going over it before that and the loud sound of the grated section.  The nearby 47 bridge seemed to be in a lot better shape although I don't think it's that much newer.

At any rate, Here's a photo from the interwebs of what Jeff was looking at from River Drive...



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Re: Bridges built to become movable, but never operated.
« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2018, 10:20:24 AM »

Memorial Bridge (between DC and VA) used to be movable, but is no longer movable.  There was also a ceremonial landing spot slightly upriver on the DC side where dignitaries and heads of state could arrive by ship.

Related to that, the inbound span of the 14th Street Bridge was a drawbridge that no longer opens; the outbound span and the HOV bridge are not drawbridges and their construction pretty much made the draw spans at the 14th Street and Memorial Bridges useless. I believe the Long Bridge (train trestle) is movable as well as a swing bridge, but the Fenwick Bridge (WMATA Yellow Line bridge) isn't. You can see the drawbridge operator's tower on the inbound 14th Street Bridge.
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edwaleni

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Re: Bridges built to become movable, but never operated.
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2018, 08:20:41 PM »

I once heard a possibly-apocryphal story that the Chicago River drawbridges are operated so infrequently, a single operator can move from bridge to bridge and open and close the bridges in succession when they need to be.

Typically happens around 6am on Sundays. And its usually 2 operators depending on the traffic types.

Long freight barges usually require 2 bridges to be up due simply to its length.

During the opening and closing of boating seasons, CDOT will post what hours the bridges will be tended. This can lead to anywhere from 4 to 6 bridges being up at the same time.

CDOT does not allow "on demand" bridge raisings and hasnt supported them since the early 1960's after most traffic moved to Lake Calumet.

In the late seventies I remember what a big deal it was when the once a year Hines lumber ship would come through the locks and head down the south branch.  It was so large it barely got through the turning basin at Michigan Ave. All the bridges from Michigan Ave. (Columbus Bridge wasnt built yet) to Wolf Point were open.

And one always got stuck.
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abefroman329

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Re: Bridges built to become movable, but never operated.
« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2018, 12:32:31 PM »

CDOT does not allow "on demand" bridge raisings and hasnt supported them since the early 1960's after most traffic moved to Lake Calumet.

Oh, that's interesting.  The CTA alerts about service on the Pink/Green/Brown/Purple Lines potentially being affected by bridge openings sure seem to imply that the CTA has no idea when the Wells Street and Lake Street Bridges are going to be opened and closed.
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edwaleni

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Re: Bridges built to become movable, but never operated.
« Reply #15 on: June 02, 2018, 05:03:41 PM »

CDOT does not allow "on demand" bridge raisings and hasnt supported them since the early 1960's after most traffic moved to Lake Calumet.

Oh, that's interesting.  The CTA alerts about service on the Pink/Green/Brown/Purple Lines potentially being affected by bridge openings sure seem to imply that the CTA has no idea when the Wells Street and Lake Street Bridges are going to be opened and closed.

This is the CTA's way of saying CDOT doesnt tell us when they are going to bring traffic down the river so be warned.

It wouldnt be the first time 2 Chicago agencies didnt communicate with each other....think the Kedzie Bridge disaster where a CDOT authorized contractor poked a hole in a legacy ash tunnel managed by Streets and San. City was paralyzed for weeks.

Once in the middle of the week during business hours CDOT decided to bring some work barges with cranes on them. So one by one, the bridges all came up.

I saw the CTA back up as they drew the red lights on the Lake Street Bridge as it went up.

The other time they went up was during biz hours was during the shooting of the Julia Roberts/Cameron Diaz movie "Best Friends Wedding".

Even though the river scene was shot on a Wendella tour boat which has bridge clearance, the director wanted "bridge action" in the background and the Chicago Film Office got CDOT to open and close them.

The most dramatic bridge action was when they were rehabbing the Wabash Street Bridge. Being a bascule trunnion style bridge, the contractor had disconnected the lateral pins that hold the bridge in place when it is down. They had jerry rigged a temporary pin which failed. Lets just say the bridge went up in record time and threw all the tools and their compressors onto Wacker Drive. In case one asks they are designed to go up if they fail. A motor pulls them down and a lateral pin holds them down during traffic.
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edwaleni

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Re: Bridges built to become movable, but never operated.
« Reply #16 on: June 03, 2018, 10:53:46 AM »

For more bridges built to move but never (or rarely did) did, look at some of the bridges over the Hennepin Canal between Bureau and Rock Island Illinois.

There is a draw bridge that hasnt opened in 75 years.

The US67 swing bridge was removed.

But there is a swing bridge built for a farmer but not many pictures exist. He needed to cross the canal to get his farming equipment to his other fields and the original built in 1909 failed.

The issue of who pays for a bridge over a disused canal for a farmer caused such a stink. The canal had reverted from federal to state control. Something to the effect that the canal had not been struck from the record as a federal waterway, therefore no bridges could be built that could impinge on boat clearance.

Now mind you, the canal had not functioned as a whole since the end of WW1 and parts were in use as late as 1946.

But the law was the law. The state of Illinois had to come up with several millions of dollars in the late 1970's to build a swing bridge for the farmer so he could reach his fields. As far as anyone knows, the bridge was only opened once, to pass inspection and reclosed. Its never been open since.
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Re: Bridges built to become movable, but never operated.
« Reply #17 on: June 03, 2018, 01:34:51 PM »

For more bridges built to move but never (or rarely did) did, look at some of the bridges over the Hennepin Canal between Bureau and Rock Island Illinois.

There is a draw bridge that hasnt opened in 75 years.

The US67 swing bridge was removed.

But there is a swing bridge built for a farmer but not many pictures exist. He needed to cross the canal to get his farming equipment to his other fields and the original built in 1909 failed.

The issue of who pays for a bridge over a disused canal for a farmer caused such a stink. The canal had reverted from federal to state control. Something to the effect that the canal had not been struck from the record as a federal waterway, therefore no bridges could be built that could impinge on boat clearance.

Now mind you, the canal had not functioned as a whole since the end of WW1 and parts were in use as late as 1946.

But the law was the law. The state of Illinois had to come up with several millions of dollars in the late 1970's to build a swing bridge for the farmer so he could reach his fields. As far as anyone knows, the bridge was only opened once, to pass inspection and reclosed. Its never been open since.


Do you have the location/coordinates of the bridge/is it named? I'm interested in the swing bridge.
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abefroman329

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Re: Bridges built to become movable, but never operated.
« Reply #18 on: June 04, 2018, 02:24:46 PM »

The most dramatic bridge action was when they were rehabbing the Wabash Street Bridge. Being a bascule trunnion style bridge, the contractor had disconnected the lateral pins that hold the bridge in place when it is down. They had jerry rigged a temporary pin which failed. Lets just say the bridge went up in record time and threw all the tools and their compressors onto Wacker Drive. In case one asks they are designed to go up if they fail. A motor pulls them down and a lateral pin holds them down during traffic.

It was the Michigan Avenue Bridge, I watched it happen sitting in traffic, and probably wouldn't be sitting here typing this if there wasn't a crane parked at the end of the bridge that slid down onto Lower Wacker and prevented the bridge from flying back onto Upper Michigan.

I'm surprised to hear the story about My Best Friend's Wedding.  Nowadays, they would probably film the scene on a weekend or holiday.
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edwaleni

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Re: Bridges built to become movable, but never operated.
« Reply #19 on: June 04, 2018, 06:18:51 PM »

The most dramatic bridge action was when they were rehabbing the Wabash Street Bridge. Being a bascule trunnion style bridge, the contractor had disconnected the lateral pins that hold the bridge in place when it is down. They had jerry rigged a temporary pin which failed. Lets just say the bridge went up in record time and threw all the tools and their compressors onto Wacker Drive. In case one asks they are designed to go up if they fail. A motor pulls them down and a lateral pin holds them down during traffic.

It was the Michigan Avenue Bridge, I watched it happen sitting in traffic, and probably wouldn't be sitting here typing this if there wasn't a crane parked at the end of the bridge that slid down onto Lower Wacker and prevented the bridge from flying back onto Upper Michigan.

I'm surprised to hear the story about My Best Friend's Wedding.  Nowadays, they would probably film the scene on a weekend or holiday.
Thanks for the correction on the "flying" bridge. It was the Michigan Ave.

As for the movie shot, I was sitting in 300 Riverside like everyone else wondering why the bridges were going up. Then we saw the Wendella boat come by with all these spot lights, mic booms and film cameras.

Its very possible the original shot was done on a Sunday and this was a reshoot.

A few years later we saw a black helicopter that said "Gotham City Police" from same window.

Glad you survived.
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edwaleni

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Re: Bridges built to become movable, but never operated.
« Reply #20 on: June 04, 2018, 06:31:13 PM »

For more bridges built to move but never (or rarely did) did, look at some of the bridges over the Hennepin Canal between Bureau and Rock Island Illinois.

There is a draw bridge that hasnt opened in 75 years.

The US67 swing bridge was removed.

But there is a swing bridge built for a farmer but not many pictures exist. He needed to cross the canal to get his farming equipment to his other fields and the original built in 1909 failed.

The issue of who pays for a bridge over a disused canal for a farmer caused such a stink. The canal had reverted from federal to state control. Something to the effect that the canal had not been struck from the record as a federal waterway, therefore no bridges could be built that could impinge on boat clearance.

Now mind you, the canal had not functioned as a whole since the end of WW1 and parts were in use as late as 1946.

But the law was the law. The state of Illinois had to come up with several millions of dollars in the late 1970's to build a swing bridge for the farmer so he could reach his fields. As far as anyone knows, the bridge was only opened once, to pass inspection and reclosed. Its never been open since.


Do you have the location/coordinates of the bridge/is it named? I'm interested in the swing bridge.

If you go to the bridgehunters website, they have a directory of all bridges over the Hennepin "except" that one for the farmer. It has no name that I am aware of.

The draw bridge from 1909 is still standing but closed to traffic. Local clubs are raising money to rehab it as a cross over for the bike trail.

I have looked for the farmers bridge on Google but cant find it. Honestly it has probably rusted and melts into the background and not visible from above.

All I remember is that it looks like just big slab of steel beams with grating on top. It "rolls" over the canal bed using an electric motor with gears.

If you find the coordinates, please share!
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lepidopteran

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Re: Bridges built to become movable, but never operated.
« Reply #21 on: June 04, 2018, 07:08:38 PM »

If you ever drive I-80/I-90/OH Turnpike between the I-75 and US-20 exits, the highway crosses the Maumee River.  Just to the north side of the bridge, running almost parallel, is an abandoned railroad trestle.  This bridge belonged to the Toledo Terminal, a switching railroad that made a complete loop around the city, and is a swing bridge that was never used.  Supposedly, it was because the expected heavy industry on the upper Maumee never materialized.  The bridge last saw use in 1982 when it was damaged by a train derailment, and is now proposed for demolition.

(Edit: Demolition has since begun, and is about halfway razed as of New Years)

The downstream counterpart to this bridge is also movable and is still in use.

In a completely different location, a rail bridge over the Delaware and Raritan Canal in Princeton, NJ (used by the "dinky") is a swing bridge.  It probably hasn't moved since the 1930s, or whenever the canal was retired from service.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2019, 12:51:25 AM by lepidopteran »
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abefroman329

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Re: Bridges built to become movable, but never operated.
« Reply #22 on: June 05, 2018, 09:27:26 AM »

The most dramatic bridge action was when they were rehabbing the Wabash Street Bridge. Being a bascule trunnion style bridge, the contractor had disconnected the lateral pins that hold the bridge in place when it is down. They had jerry rigged a temporary pin which failed. Lets just say the bridge went up in record time and threw all the tools and their compressors onto Wacker Drive. In case one asks they are designed to go up if they fail. A motor pulls them down and a lateral pin holds them down during traffic.

It was the Michigan Avenue Bridge, I watched it happen sitting in traffic, and probably wouldn't be sitting here typing this if there wasn't a crane parked at the end of the bridge that slid down onto Lower Wacker and prevented the bridge from flying back onto Upper Michigan.

I'm surprised to hear the story about My Best Friend's Wedding.  Nowadays, they would probably film the scene on a weekend or holiday.
Thanks for the correction on the "flying" bridge. It was the Michigan Ave.

As for the movie shot, I was sitting in 300 Riverside like everyone else wondering why the bridges were going up. Then we saw the Wendella boat come by with all these spot lights, mic booms and film cameras.

Its very possible the original shot was done on a Sunday and this was a reshoot.

A few years later we saw a black helicopter that said "Gotham City Police" from same window.

Glad you survived.

Thanks.  My brother saw a truck reading "Metropolis something-or-other" when they were filming Man of Steel here.
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Re: Bridges built to become movable, but never operated.
« Reply #23 on: June 15, 2018, 10:59:42 AM »

A few years later we saw a black helicopter that said "Gotham City Police" from same window.

Filing a Batman movie in Chicago is just SO wrong.  (Chicago = Metropolis).
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Re: Bridges built to become movable, but never operated.
« Reply #24 on: June 18, 2018, 10:20:08 AM »

A few years later we saw a black helicopter that said "Gotham City Police" from same window.

Filing a Batman movie in Chicago is just SO wrong.  (Chicago = Metropolis).

Yeah, but it was so much fun seeing Chicago in the Dark Knight Trilogy.
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