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Section of Navy Pier Flyover slated to open by Christmas

People walk and ride bicycles on the Lakefront Trail near the Navy Pier Flyover Project construction zone in May 2017. | Sun-Times file photo

Finally, more than four years after construction began, the Navy Pier Flyover — a portion of it, at least — is slated to open by Christmas.

The part cyclists and runners will soon be able to use: the futuristic looking ramp connecting lower Lake Shore Drive to the lakefront path at Ohio Street Beach.

Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld said Tuesday at a City Club of Chicago luncheon the segment of the Flyover will open up to the public before Christmas.

The importance of the ramp: as runners and bikers begin using the elevated ramp, they’ll be able to look over the edge at Illinois and Grand Streets and remember the days when they had to cross each of the busy streets at grade level.

But construction to widen the portion of the Flyover that will carry pedestrians and cyclists over the Chicago River from eight feet to 16 feet will begin in early 2019 and last through most of the year.

The narrow river crossing has long been a frustrating bottleneck.

The Flyover project has been criticized for taking longer to complete that the than it took to make the Golden Gate Bridge.

At last glance, the rest of the lakefront path, all 18 miles of it, which has been undergoing a complete facelift to separate bike and pedestrian traffic since late 2016, was scheduled to for completion by the end of the year.

A park district spokeswoman was not immediately available Wednesday morning to say whether or not the project was still on schedule.

A $12 million gift from billionaire Ken Griffin — Illinois’ richest man and an avid cyclist — will cover the cost of the trail-separation project north and south of the Navy Pier flyover.

The Flyover price tag, covered by a variety of state and federal funds, is more than $60 million.