Waves force closure of bike path, restrictions on Lake Shore Drive

SHARE Waves force closure of bike path, restrictions on Lake Shore Drive

High waves made travel along the lakeshore an adventure on Friday, and  washed out a haunted house attraction at Navy Pier.

The Chicago lakefront area remained under a flood advisory through early Saturday, and drivers on Lake Shore Drive had to navigate around flooded areas.

“Due to high winds causing water to flow onto Lake Shore Drive, there is a lane reduction in place on northbound Lake Shore Drive from Oak Street to North Avenue,” OEMC spokesman Melissa Stratton said in an email.

The departments of Streets & Sanitation and Water Management are “working to remove water off of the Drive,” she said. Streets & San tow trucks and street sweepers are clearing storm drains and catch basins.

“We are urging motorists to drive with caution and recommending they use an alternate route in the meantime,” Stratton said. “We will continue to monitor conditions and coordinate with all relevant City departments and agencies to ensure the safety of motorists.”   

Bicyclists are not being given the option to dodge the waves. The lakefront bike path has been closed until further notice from Ohio to Oak, Chicago Police said late Friday morning.

At Navy Pier a haunted house attraction on a floating barge, called Zombie Containment, was affected by water and was sinking into the lake.

The attraction was closed Friday because of the inclement weather, and has been damaged by the wind and waves, according to a Navy Pier spokesman. 

It was scheduled to run through Sunday, but is now closed for the season because of the weather damage, according to the production company that puts on the haunted house. 

Navy Pier remained open Friday night, but the Ferris Wheel, Grand Ballroom and End Plaza were also closed because of the extreme weather.

The National Weather Service said waves could reach up to 23 feet high on Friday, and had previously warned that the bike path could become impassable in some areas.

The area also was  under a wind advisory until 10 p.m. Friday, with the weather service warning that gusts up to 50 mph, especially near the lake, could take down tree branches and power lines.

At Foster and Broadway, a 150-foot by 100-foot piece of roofing blew off a three-story building, which had to be evacuated, the weather service said.

A sign was posted indicating the lakefront path was closed by high water on Friday afternoon. | Brian Jackson/Sun-Times

Gary Chicago International Airport saw a wind gust of 69 mph, the highest in the area as of 3 p.m., the weather service said. Palatine saw a wind gust of 55 mph while Midway saw a gust of 53 mph.

Most other places have recorded gusts of 30-50 mph on Friday afternoon, the weather service said.

At O’Hare Airport, airlines have canceled 760 flights because of the weather and are reporting delays up to 30 minutes, the city’s Department of Aviation said. Flights are normal at Midway.

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