Annual bridge lift tradition starts Saturday

SHARE Annual bridge lift tradition starts Saturday

Saturday morning, 27 bridges over the Chicago River will be lifted to allow boats to travel down the river from storage yards out to Lake Michigan. | File Photo

Bridges over the Chicago River will be raised one-by-one Saturday morning to allow boats to travel from the storage yards where they spent the winter out to Lake Michigan. The bridges will continue to be lifted every Saturday and Wednesday through June.

A total of 27 bridges will go up in succession, from the Ashland Avenue Bridge on the South Branch to Lake Shore Drive, city officials said. Each bridge lift will take an average of 8 to 12 minutes.

Some CTA trains that use bridges will be affected. Brown Line trains use the Wells Street bridge; Green and Pink Line trains use the Lake Street bridge. Passengers on those routes should expect delays of five to 10 minutes during bridge lifts, according to the CTA.

“The springtime lifting of Chicago’s iconic movable river bridges marks the beginning of the boating season each year and is a happy sight,” Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld said in a statement. “CDOT works with local boat storage yards each year to create a schedule that accommodates boats while creating the least amount of impact on downtown street traffic.”

CDOT spokesman Mike Claffey said it could take boats three to four hours to make the trip up the river while waiting for the bridge lifts. They typically come through in groups, and anywhere from 10 to 30 boats could make the trip on any given day.

Claffey said Saturdays tend to be busier than Wednesdays, although weather conditions also affect the volume of boat traffic.


Bridges lifts along the Chicago River will continue every Saturday and Wednesday, from Ashland Avenue on the South Branch to Lake Shore Drive, through the end of June. | File Photo

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