NASCAR to close southbound DuSable Lake Shore Drive 6 days, other major streets

Chicago officials released details about rolling road closures leading up to the July 1-2 races, a 2.2-mile course that also will shut Columbus Drive and Michigan Avenue.

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A map of the proposed route for the NASCAR race planned for July 2023.

A map of the proposed route for the NASCAR race planned for July 2023.

City of Chicago

NASCAR’s Chicago Street Race will take place over two days of Fourth of July weekend, but it will affect traffic around Grant Park for over a month.

City officials on Monday released details about rolling road closures and traffic patterns leading up to the July 1-2 races — the 12-turn, 2.2-mile course that is set to close the major thoroughfares of DuSable Lake Shore Drive, Columbus Drive and Michigan Avenue.

The most significant closure may be the six days that southbound DuSable Lake Shore Drive is blocked from 10 p.m. June 28 until after race weekend, from Monroe to McFetridge Drive.

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Northbound DuSable Lake Shore Drive will close for only two days, from 4 a.m. July 1 to after the race July 2.

City and NASCAR officials did not give clear opening dates for most streets but said they would begin opening as early as 7 a.m. on the Monday after the race. NASCAR may take until July 15 to remove its grandstands and track walls.

Downtown 2nd Ward Ald. Brian Hopkins, a critic of the race since Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the three-year deal in July, blasted the announcement Monday.

“There’s no question that the inconvenience will be significantly more extensive than what we were initially led to believe,” Hopkins said. “To have LSD closed during a prime summer time, when the Kennedy is under construction, it will have a cascading effect.”

NASCAR representatives have provided different timelines for road closures over the last few months — citing that race planning was a work in progress. In February, NASCAR said it would begin setting up the race as late as June 29.

The earliest pre-race closures begin June 2, when parking restrictions start on Columbus Drive between Jackson and Balbo. Then on June 10, Ida B. Wells Drive closes east of Michigan for construction of the main viewing areas.

Other major closures:

  • On June 25, Columbus Drive closes between Jackson and Roosevelt Road. Jackson also closes between Michigan and Columbus.

Columbus Drive will close between Jackson and Roosevelt Road.

City of Chicago

  • 6 a.m. June 26, Congress Plaza Drive closes; and eastbound Roosevelt closes from Columbus to DuSable Lake Shore Drive.
  • 6 a.m. June 27, curbs are closed on southbound DLSD from Balbo to Roosevelt for track barrier installation.
  • 8 p.m. June 29, Roosevelt Road closes from Columbus to Michigan Avenue; northbound Michigan closes from Balbo to Jackson.
  • 5 p.m. June 30, southbound Michigan Avenue closes from Balbo to Jackson.

Southbound Michigan Avenue closes from Balbo to Jackson on June 30.

City of Chicago

Facing criticism that the city was closing off a major public park for a private event, city officials said the Chicago Park District is keeping more than half of Grant Park open to the public during NASCAR’s setup and teardown. People can still visit Buckingham Fountain, Butler Field and Lower Hutchinson Field, the city said in a news release.

Jim Wales, vice president of the Grant Park Advisory Council, has criticized race planners for not being transparent about closures to the park and streets.

“My concern is that this appears it will have an even greater impact on traffic than Lollapalooza,” Wales said Monday. The music festival will use Grant Park for 24 days total, between July 21 and Aug. 13. The four-day festival is set for Aug. 3-6.

Hopkins said it’s fair to compare the NASCAR race with the summer music festival.

Lolla “has a much less disruptive footprint” and “the city makes a greater revenue,” Hopkins said. “We’re making a pittance for an extensive amount of inconvenience.”

The race will attract around 100,000 people over its two days, by NASCAR’s own estimates. Last year, Lightfoot said the city signed a three-year deal with NASCAR to hold yearly races downtown, the first street races ever held in the organization’s 75-year history.

NASCAR will hold free festival activities, no ticket required, at Butler Field, where people can “learn more about NASCAR,” the city said in its release.

The city said it may update the street-closure plan closer to the start of the race.

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