Chester Bridge and Chicago Skyway, Illinois

By | December 16, 2022

Chester Bridge

Chester Bridge
Spans Mississippi River
Lanes 1×2
Total length 861 meter
Main overvoltage 204 meter
Bridge deck height 32 meter
Opening 23-08-1942
Traffic intensity 6,400 mvt/day
Location Map

According to, the Chester Bridge is a truss bridge in the United States, located on the border of the states of Missouri and Illinois. The bridge spans the Mississippi River at Chester.


The Chester Bridge is a steel truss bridge with a total length of 861 meters and two main spans of 204 meters, which converge on a pier in the middle of the Mississippi River. The bridge deck is 7 meters wide and 32 meters above the river. Over the bridge runs Missouri State Route 51 and Illinois State Route 150. On the Illinois side is the town of Chester. There is no place in the immediate vicinity on the Missouri side. The bridge is of regional importance and is toll-free.


The bridge was built in the early 1940s and opened to traffic on August 23, 1942. It was a toll road at the time. The bridge was severely damaged by a thunderstorm in 1944, with the main span collapsing. The repair took 2 years and the bridge reopened in 1946. The toll collection was discontinued in 1989.


The bridge will be replaced in the near future. In October 2018, the preferred alternative was announced, a new bridge 25 meters upstream of the existing bridge. The cost is estimated at $191 million.

Traffic intensities

In 2012, 6,400 vehicles crossed the bridge every day.

Chicago Skyway

Begin Chicago
End South Chicago
Length 12 mi
Length 7 km
  • → Chicago / Lansing
  • State Street
  • St. Lawrence Avenue
  • 73rd Street
  • Stoney Island Avenue
  • Jeffrey Boulevard
  • 87th Street
  • Anthony Avenue
  • Indianapolis Blvd
  • Indiana state line

The Chicago Skyway is a 12.5 kilometer toll road in Chicago, Illinois. The Skyway connects the Dan Ryan Expressway to the Indiana Toll Road and is part of Interstate 90. The Chicago Skyway includes a 38-foot bridge to allow ships to sail up the Calumet River, the highest road in Chicago.


The Skyway branches off the Dan Ryan Expressway at Exit 59A, then continues in a straight, 2×3 lane, southeast, with a railroad track and Chicago Avenue paralleling the road. There is only one connection to the Chicago Skyway, which is Stoney Island Avenue, a wide 2×4 lane urban arterial. At 87th Street it follows the Skyway toll booth and is sandwiched between a residential area and a railroad. The road then ascends to cross the Calumet River, which provides access to Lake Calumet, a port in Chicago’s industrial south. From the South Chicago neighborhood, US 12, US 20, and US 41 run alongside or under the Skyway. On the border withIndiana, the Chicago Skyway becomes the Indiana Toll Road.


The Chicago Skyway was originally called the Calumet Skyway and cost $101 million to build in 1958 and took 34 months. On April 16, 1958, the toll road opened to traffic. However, beginning in the 1960s, due to the rapid population growth on the south side of Chicago, new highways were built, most notably the Dan Ryan Expressway, Bishop Ford Freeway and the Kingery Expressway.providing a toll-free alternative to I-94 and I-80, rapidly declining use of the Chicago Skyway. From the 2000s, the intensities increased again, mainly due to casinos being built on the Indiana side. Between 2003 and 2004, the City of Chicago completed a $250 million renovation project to revamp the then 45-year-old structure, most notably at the bridge over the Calumet River. The intensities also increased somewhat when large-scale work was carried out on the Kingery Expressway in the Lansing suburb.

Although the Chicago Skyway has always been considered part of I-90, the City of Chicago learned in 1999 that the Skyway was not yet officially part of I-90. At the time, the I-90 signage was replaced by “TO I-90” signage. The road is called a Skyway and is actually a toll bridge and not a toll road, as toll roads were not allowed at the time, but toll bridges were. It was found that there was no legal restriction on the embankments and thus the whole road was defined as a bridge. Thus, the toll road could still be built. Although there are a number of toll roads in the Chicago metropolitan area, the Chicago Skyway is the only toll road in the city itself.

The Chicago Skyway toll booth was special because it had a McDonald’s in the median strip that could be reached in either direction. The McDonald’s was demolished in 2016 and interchangeable lanes were constructed for it (only through the toll station with I-Pass/ E-ZPass ). The interchangeable lanes opened on July 1, 2016.


The Chicago Skyway is an open toll road with one toll plaza near 87th Street. The toll road was originally operated by the City of Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation. In 2005 it was licensed to the Skyway Concession Company, LLC. The concession brought in $1.83 billion for the city of Chicago at the time.

Traffic intensities

47,700 vehicles use the Skyway daily, making it much quieter than surrounding highways such as I-94, which handles more than 200,000 vehicles. With 2×3 lanes, there is therefore no congestion on the Skyway.

Chicago Skyway, Illinois