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Clark Street bridge reopens after seven months of construction

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announces reopening of Clark Street bridge Wednesday. He flanked by Chicago Department of Transportstion Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld (right) and CDOT Deputy Commissioner TaNesheha Marshall. | Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times

Traffic on the Clark Street bridge was again flowing freely Wednesday morning after seven months of lane closings for construction.

The last impediment to a completely open roadway was a news conference Mayor Rahm Emanuel held in the far right lane of the bridge during rush hour Wednesday morning to herald the accomplishment.

“The bridge is open 10 days ahead of schedule and without any overtime,” Emanuel said.

Improvements to the aging bridge, which opened in 1929, include grating along the side of the bridge that’s been filled with concrete to provide better traction for cyclists.

City crews also replaced deteriorated concrete sidewalks over the bridge with fiberglass ones that are less slippery during bad weather and will last longer, Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld said.

“We really appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding as we were doing this work and we opened it up as soon as we could,” Scheinfeld said.

During construction at least one lane of the one-way bridge was kept open.

The project cost the city $800,000.

Emanuel also used the occasion to boast that the city had reached the 100-mile mark for paving arterial and residential streets this year.