Centennial Trail & the Old Swing Bridge
Travel Update Summer 2020: Most destinations, sites and parks reopened with limitations. Check the official websites and read our crucial ‘BEST TIME TO GO' and ‘AVOIDING THE CROWDS’ tips:
Depending on the season, allow for a 3-4 hour hike on the trail before dusk. You will have beautiful views at the end of your hike of the Industrial sites in the distance as their lights turn on and dramatic light and shadows on the old swing bridge.
If you like the mixture of hiking and industrial ruins, this is a great option for a one-day micro-adventure. All along the I&M Canal you will find preserved land, abundant trails, and metal ghosts of the Industrial Age.
The Old Swing Bridge connects the Centennial Trail and I&M Canal Trail that travels 10.81 miles of crushed limestone/paved linear trail between the Joliet Iron Works Historic site north through Lockport & Romeoville to the Cook Country Line.
Description of the bridge from the signage at the site: "The 135th Street bridge is the only remaining example of this type of bridge in the state of Illinois. Built in 1899 to cross the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, it was uniquely designed to allow passage of large vessels along the waterway.
This two-span bridge was able to pivot on a steel turntable supported by a masonry pier; thus the name "swing bridge" as it swung across the water to the opposite bank. The longer east span was the part that actually crossed the canal, and the shorter west span functioned as the counterweight arm.
The trusses, which are the supporting framework. were constructed out of steel and extended up and over the bridge. Located within the trusses is an overhead pilot house where the movement of the bridge was controlled."