Project Reaches Major Milestone Carrying Lake Front Trail Over Busy Street Crossings at Illinois and Grand Streets
December 20, 2018 – Mayor Rahm Emanuel today joined the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Chicago Park District at the opening the most critical section of the Navy Pier Flyover. Achievement of this major milestone means users of the Lakefront Trail will no longer have to cross two busy roadways at Grand and Illinois streets. Work is continuing on the project to create a new, uninterrupted 2,160-foot span stretching from Jane Addams Park and the Ohio Street Beach to the south side of the Chicago River.
“We’ve reached a major milestone in the construction of the Navy Pier Flyover, connecting the two halves of the Lakefront Trail,” Mayor Emanuel said. “The Lakefront Trail is one of Chicago’s jewels, and this investment will create a seamless connection between the north and south sides of the Trail. It will make it safer and easier for everyone to get through the popular area near Navy Pier, whether they are walking, running or biking.”
Improving access to the lakefront is a key goal of Building on Burnham, Mayor Emanuel’s comprehensive plan to invest in the Lakefront, the Chicago River and natural areas in neighborhoods throughout the City. The Navy Pier Flyover will improve safety and eliminate two major bottlenecks on Chicago’s signature lakefront recreational trail, which is used by thousands of people each day during busy summer weekends.
“This is a great day for everyone in Chicago who spends time walking, jogging or biking along our beautiful lakefront,” Alderman Brendan Reilly (42nd) said. “In addition to making the Lakefront Trail safer and easier for everyone to enjoy, the project offers a spectacular view of the lake.”
“CDOT is excited to have achieved one of the most important safety improvements of the project: separating pedestrians and bicyclists from the vehicular traffic at Illinois and Grand streets,” CDOT Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld said. “We are looking forward to making continued progress on the project in 2019. We thank everyone for bearing with us while we push toward our final goal.”
The Chicago Park District recently announced that it has completed the Lakefront Trail Separation Project, a major project designed to alleviate areas of congestion by creating two distinct paths along the 18-mile lakefront: a bike trail and a separate pedestrian trail for those on foot.
“Chicago lakefront parks and trail are among our city’s most popular destinations,” Chicago Park District General Superintendent & CEO Michael Kelly said. “The completion of the Navy Pier Flyover and Lakefront Trail Separation will dramatically minimize congestion, making the experience more enjoyable and safer for everyone.”
The newly opened Flyover section starts near the Ohio Street Beach and consists of a 16-foot wide multi-use trail that is fully ADA accessible and ascends from ground level to cross over Grand and Illinois streets. The trail connects via a temporary ramp to Lower Lake Shore Drive south of Illinois Street.
Work on the remaining portions of the Flyover project is continuing through 2019. The second phase of the project is now underway with construction of a segment over Ogden Slip and DuSable Park that will connect to Lower Lake Shore Drive. This segment is due to be complete by late spring 2019.
Work on the third phase will start in early 2019. It will double the width of the sidewalk on the east side of the lower level of the LSD movable bridge to 16 feet; the northbound side of the new path will tunnel through the existing bridge houses in order to achieve this additional width. The Chicago River Bridge segment will retrofit the existing bridge with a cantilever structure off the east side of the bridge. This project will also involve needed structural and mechanical repairs to the movable bascule bridge.
“This important investment will help keep pedestrians and bicyclists enjoying the beautiful Lakefront Trail safe,” U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth said. “I’m glad Chicagoans will soon be able to make it through this congested area more easily, and I’m excited to see the completion of this project.”
“Chicago’s incredible lakefront has been treasured and preserved as a unique public space since our founding,” U.S. Congressman Danny K. Davis said. “This link between the North and South halves of the lakefront trail will not only facilitate use of the trail and improve safety, but it hopefully will stand as a symbol of our determination to unify Chicago into a city fully accessible and open to all our residents.”
The Lakefront Trail portion of the project is expected to be complete by the end of 2019, though structural and mechanical work will continue on the LSD Bridge into 2020.
Funding for the project is coming from federal and state sources. In order to get the project completed within existing resources, the construction schedule has been spread over several years.
“I’m proud to secure federal funds for this project, which will make accessing one of the City’s greatest treasures – its Lakefront – more safe and effective. These types of smart federal investments play an important role in building a sustainable infrastructure that includes all forms of transportation – from walking to biking and driving – for the next generation,” U.S. Senator Dick Durbin said.
The designer for phases 1 and 2 was HNTB and Muller + Muller; the designer for phase 3 is WSP USA.
The Prime contractor for phase 1 was FH Paschen; the prime contractor for phases 2 and 3 is Kenny Construction. TY Lin is the construction manager.
Video of the press conference is available here.