Mexican Independence Day celebrations fill streets in downtown Chicago and beyond

The flood of car caravans caused traffic jams in the Loop and beyond, leading officials to close off some streets in the city center.

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Residentes en el centro celebran el Día de la Independencia de México el viernes por la noche.

Revelers downtown celebrate Mexican Independence Day Friday night.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

The city closed down large parts of the Loop to vehicle traffic Friday night in response to caravans taking to the streets in honor of Mexican Independence Day.

In a repeat of celebrations from years past, caravans of cars adorned with the Mexican flag headed downtown, causing traffic jams.

“The Central Business District is closed to incoming vehicular traffic within the boundaries from DuSable Lake Shore Drive to Halsted Street and from Division to 18th Street,” the Office of Emergency Management and Communications wrote on Twitter/X.

People who live or work in the area were excluded from the closures, along with “critical care workers.” The agency also said the closures would be “intermittent” throughout the night.

La Policía de Chicago cerró las carreteras que conducen al Loop para controlar el tráfico que llenó el centro de la ciudad el viernes con caravanas de personas que celebraban el Día de la Independencia de México.

Chicago Police closed roads leading into the Loop to control traffic that filled downtown with car caravans of people celebrating Mexican Independence Day, which is Saturday. Here, officers are stationed at the LaSalle Street bridge on the north side of the Chicago River.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Entrance ramps to Lake Shore Drive were closed all along the route into downtown from the North Side.

Chicago police implemented a similar plan last year and in 2020 after several days of celebrations caused downtown traffic to come to a standstill.

A day prior, the city agency and police said no street closures had been planned, but that “increased traffic” and “rolling closures” could be expected as conditions changed.

“As tens of thousands of residents are coming together to celebrate and embrace their rich heritage, we remain committed to ensuring the safety and security of all those participating in the celebratory activities as well as residents and workers in the affected areas,” the agency said in a statement Thursday.

City representatives didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment and didn’t clarify whether more street closures were planned for the weekend.

Contributing: Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere, Allison Novelo

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