City blocks car caravans from Loop on third night of Mexican Independence Day celebrations

Chicago police temporarily closed off portions of downtown in an effort to prevent gridlock.

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Revelers celebrate Mexican Independence Day early Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022 in the Loop.

Revelers celebrate Mexican Independence Day early Saturday in the Loop.

Dave Newbart/Sun-Times

To avoid another night of gridlock downtown, the city blocked car caravans from the Loop late Saturday as revelers continued Mexican Independence Day celebrations for a third night.

Chicago police said they closed the Loop to everyone but residents and workers between 11 p.m. Saturday through 2:30 a.m. Sunday.

The closures came hours after Mayor Lori Lightfoot and police Supt. David Brown outlined plans to combat criminal behavior and gridlock downtown after tens of thousands of people flooded downtown Friday night. Police said they responded early Saturday to two shootings in the Loop and a carjacking on DuSable Lake Shore Drive.

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“The city is seeing increased traffic in the central business district,” the Chicago Police Department wrote on social media during the Saturday night street closures.

“To prevent gridlock traffic caused by car caravans, temporary intermittent closures are currently in effect between 18th Street and the River, and from Halsted Street to DuSable Lake Shore Drive.”

Police said they implemented the blockades to “ease the flow of traffic within our downtown area and to allow emergency vehicles, residents and workers to travel safely.”

The city resorted to a similar shutdown of the Loop around the same time in 2020 when downtown traffic was at a standstill as caravans celebrated Mexican Independence Day.

Police said there were no known plans to implement street closures Sunday night.

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