The Skyway

The Chicago Skyway Bridge is a 7.8-mile toll road built in 1958 to connect the Dan Ryan Expressway in Chicago‘s South Side to the Indiana Toll Road. The iconic feature of the Skyway is a 12-mile-long steel truss bridge, known as the "High Bridge". The bridge spans Calumet Harbor and the Calumet River, the route and harbor for industrial ships and barges. The main part of the bridge is the highest road in Chicago.

I embarked on this project because the Skyway has always been foreign to me….sort of a third World.  Below it lie blue collar neighborhoods, rough and tumble areas, steel mills, graffiti, oil tanks, body shops, shipping lanes, train tracks, taverns and multiple industries.  Under the Skyway, cars are engulfed by sink holes, tug boats pass at regular intervals, and falling cement shards and guardrails pierce through the subterranean roofs. Graffiti artists work their concrete canvases. It’s the skeleton of the Industrial Revolution of the Great Lakes states.   As a child growing up in the suburbs, I was warned never to get off the Skyway. It was a dangerous and mysterious place. I was inhibited. It’s this environment and background that led me to explore and document the Skyway. These photographs are from on, under or extremely close to the Skyway.