Chicago Skyway

Translations of this material:

into Russian: Воздушная линия Чикаго больше известна под названием "Воздушная линия Калумет". Её постройка обошлась в 101 миллион долларов(в 1958 - 101 миллион долларов, в 2011 на Воздушную линию Чикаго было затрачено 791 миллион долларов), на создание этой воздушной л. 0% translated in draft.
Submitted for translation by kleo1100 06.12.2011

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The Chicago Skyway was originally known as the Calumet Skyway.[3] It cost $101 million (1958, $791 million in 2011) to construct and took about 34 months to build. Nearly eight miles of elevated roadway, the Chicago Skyway was originally built as a shortcut from State Street, a major north-south street on Chicago's South Side that serves the Loop, to the steel mills on the Southeast to the Indiana state line where the Indiana Toll Road begins. Later, when the Dan Ryan Expressway opened, the Chicago Skyway was extended west to connect to it. There are only two eastbound exits east of the toll barrier, whereas there are four westbound exits west of the toll barrier. The Chicago Skyway opened to traffic on April 16, 1958.[3][4]

In the 1960s, the newly constructed Dan Ryan Expressway and the neighboring Calumet Expressway, Kingery Expressway and Borman Expressway provided free alternatives to the tollway, and the Skyway became much less used. As a result, from the 1970s through the early 1990s, the Skyway was unable to repay revenue bonds used in its construction.[5]

Traffic volumes have rebounded in recent years, (to 47,700 vehicles per day)[6] partially because of the construction of casinos in Northwest Indiana, along with re-construction of the Dan Ryan, Kingery and Borman Expressways. The city of Chicago claims a record number of motorists used the Skyway in 2002.

In 2003 and 2004, the city of Chicago initiated a $250 million project to rehabilitate and widen the Skyway. The project involved extensive work on the cantilever span and its approaches that included replacing the bridge's structural steel, rebuilding the piers that support the structure, and reconstructing the bridge deck. Because the city of Chicago required the Skyway to remain open during construction, engineers had to construct temporary bridge piers that would bear the load of the bridge and its traffic while new piers were built. Once ready, the city of Chicago partnered with Enerpac company to complete a complex lift system. The bridge was lifted up onto the temporary piers using Enerpac 600 ton hydraulic jacks, the old piers were removed, and new ones were built. Crews also devised innovative methods for replacing the bridge's structural steel, replacing steel members one at a time. This process involved installing hydraulic chords around the component to be replaced. The bridge load was then transferred to the hydraulic chord, the steel member was removed and a new steel member was then installed. [7]

Recently, major construction on both the Kingery and Borman expressways has increased traffic on the Skyway, as well as the presence of riverboat casinos in Hammond and East Chicago, Indiana. In June 2005, the Skyway became compatible with electronic toll collection, with users now able to pay tolls using I-PASS, I-Zoom, or E-ZPass transponders. There is no discount for using a transponder.

The city of Chicago's Department of Streets and Sanitation formerly maintained the Chicago Skyway Toll Bridge System. A transaction that gave the city of Chicago a $1.83 billion dollar cash infusion leased the Skyway to the Skyway Concession Company (SCC), a joint-venture between the Australian Macquarie Infrastructure Group and Spanish Cintra Concesiones de Infraestructuras de Transporte S.A., which assumed operations on the Skyway on a 99–year operating lease. SCC will be responsible for all operating and maintenance costs of the Skyway but has the right to all toll and concession revenue. The Triple-A bond insurer Financial Security Assurance Inc. (FSA) has guaranteed $1.4 billion of senior bonds to provide long-term funding for the privately operated Chicago Skyway. On June 30, 2006, this same joint-venture assumed responsibility for operating and maintaining the adjacent Indiana East–West Toll Road for $3.8 billion. The agreement between SCC and the city of Chicago marked the first time an existing toll road was moved from public to private operation in the United States.[8]

Historically, the Chicago Skyway was signed as, and was widely considered to be part of, I-90 from the mid-1960s forward. However, around 1999, the city of Chicago realized they had never received official approval to designate the Skyway as I-90. The city subsequently replaced most of the "I-90" signage with "TO I-90" signage. However, the Illinois DOT has always and continues to report the Skyway as part of the Interstate system, and the Federal Highway Administration apparently still considers the Chicago Skyway an official part of I-90.[9]

The Skyway's official name, referring to it as a "toll bridge" rather than a "toll road", is the result of a legal quirk. At the time of its construction, the city charter of Chicago did not provide the authority to construct a toll road. However, the city could build toll bridges, and it was found that there was no limit to the length of the approaches to the bridge. Therefore, the Skyway is technically a toll bridge with a six-mile-long approach. This also is part of the reason that there are no exits available until after one has crossed the bridge and paid the toll.[10]