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CDOT tests Chicago River bridges ahead of spring boating season

Loomis Street Bridge over the South Branch of the Chicago River | Google Maps

The Chicago Department of Transportation will test bridges over the South Branch of the Chicago River all week to prepare for the spring boating season.

Testing began Monday — from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. — with the closure of the Ashland Avenue Bridge from 2400 to 2723 S. Ashland Ave., according to a statement from CDOT.

The closures will continue for the same time period for each day though Friday, with testing on the Loomis Street Bridge underway Tuesday from 2500 to 2630 S. Loomis, according to CDOT. Traffic will be rerouted via Archer, Halsted and Cermak.

The Halsted Street Bridge will be tested Wednesday, with the closure in effect from 2344 to 2500 S. Halsted, CDOT said. Traffic will be rerouted via Archer, Canal and Cermak.

The testing will continue Thursday with the Cermak Road Bridge from 448 to 600 W. Cermak, according to CDOT. Traffic will be detoured on Halsted, 18th and Canal.

Friday’s testing will take place on the Canal Street Bridge from 1900 to 2101 S. Canal, CDOT said. The detour will direct traffic onto Cermak, Halsted and 18th.

Every spring and fall, workers raise the movable bridges along the Main and South Branches of the river twice weekly — on Saturdays and Wednesdays — to accommodate recreational boats traveling to and from their storage yards.

During these “boat runs,” the bridges — all 27 between Ashland and Lake Shore Drive — are raised sequentially, typically one at a time. Each bridge lift takes an average of 8-12 minutes.