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Chicago River bridge lifts to begin next week

Drivers take notice: The lifting of Chicago River bridges for recreational boat traffic resumes next week and continues through the end of June, the city announced Wednesday.

The first bridge lift is scheduled for 8 a.m. Saturday, April 19, and they will continue every Wednesday and Saturday through June 28, according to a statement from the Chicago Department of Transportation.

Each spring and fall, the city raises bridges along the Main and South branches of the river to accommodate recreational boats traveling to and from storage yards.

“The lifting of Chicago’s iconic movable bridges is a local rite of spring, marking the beginning of boating season,” CDOT Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld said in the statement.

“The City coordinates with local boat storage yards each year to create a schedule that accommodates boats while creating the least amount of impact on downtown traffic,” Scheinfeld said.

During the “boat runs,” all 27 bridges between the Ashland Avenue Bridge on the South Branch to Lake Shore Drive are raised sequentially, with each lift lasting 8-12 minutes.