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Lakefront Trail opens over Chicago River, Navy Pier Flyover project now set to finish in April

The new stretch of the path will run on the east sidewalk of the Lake Shore Drive Bridge, providing a continuous route from the Ohio Street Beach to the south side of the Chicago River. 

Once the Navy Pier Flyover project is completed the entire trail will be at least at 16 feet wide.
Once the Navy Pier Flyover project is completed the entire trail will be at least at 16 feet wide.
Chicago Department of Transportation

A new portion of the Lakefront Trail stretching over the Chicago river has opened after years of delays — but the city likely remains months away from completing the Navy Pier Flyover project.

The Chicago Department of Transportation announced Monday the new stretch of the path will run on the east sidewalk of the Lake Shore Drive Bridge, providing a continuous route from Ohio Street Beach to the south side of the Chicago River.

The Flyover project has now “entered the home stretch,” and “weather permitting,” should be complete by April, CDOT said.

Construction of the Flyover project began in 2014 and was initially slated to wrap in 2018.

The project’s goal is to provide a safer solution for cyclists and pedestrians, previously forced to cross the river on a narrow stretch of sidewalk next to busy lanes of traffic on the lower deck of the two-tiered Lake Shore Drive Bridge.

The project was on track to finish by Dec. 2020 but was again delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Once completed, the trail will be at least 16 feet wide for its full length and tunnel through existing bridge houses, CDOT said. For now, the trail narrows to about eight feet as it passes the bridge houses.

Portions of the flyover, carrying pedestrians and cyclists over Grand and Illinois streets, opened in 2018; that improvement helped eliminate street-level crossings.

Unexpected repairs on the Depression-era bridge also delayed the project through the years. Structural work on the bridge will continue through this year, CDOT said.

Due to construction, vehicle lanes on lower Lake Shore Drive provide access only to northbound Upper Lake Shore Drive. This configuration will remain in place until April, according to CDOT.