Delays expected with Lake Shore Drive construction project now underway
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Lake Shore Drive commuters can expect significant delays for the next few weeks when a major construction project gets underway on the North Side Sunday night.
The drive will go down to two lanes in both directions between Monroe and LaSalle starting at 6 p.m. on Sunday to make room for a resurfacing project between those streets and repairs for the overpass at LaSalle Drive.
Full-time lane closures are scheduled to be completed by Oct. 6 to accommodate the Chicago Marathon the next day.
The inner two lanes of each direction will be closed during the first phase of repairs, then the outer two lanes, officials said.
Both on-ramps at Randolph and the southbound on ramp at Wacker would be closed during the first phase of construction, said Mike Claffey, a spokesman with the Chicago Department of Transportation.
The detour for the northbound on-ramp at Randolph will be via northbound Lower Lake Shore Drive to the on-ramp to the drive just south of Illinois.
The detour route for the southbound ramps will be southbound Columbus Drive to eastbound Monroe to southbound Lake Shore Drive.
Once repaving and repairs are completed, there will be partial, periodic lane closures for pavement striping during off-peak hours — 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., CDOT officials said.
Additionally, the sidewalk on LaSalle under Lake Shore Drive will likely be closed during the second phase of construction.
The construction is imperative for the elevated portions of Lake Shore, as the lack of a ground foundation necessitated more frequent road repairs, said Susan Hofer, a CDOT spokeswoman. It’s been 15 years since that patch of Lake Shore has been fully maintenanced, she said.
With 120,000 cars using this stretch of Lake Shore every day, Hofer said commuters should expect significant delays.
Hofer recommended commuters consider taking the CTA Red Line or Metra to get to work. Even taking one of the CTA’s express buses on Lake Shore Drive would help relieve congestion, she said.
For those who must drive, Hofer recommended sticking to the Kennedy instead of trying to navigate arterial city streets. She said those commuters should be fine as long as they exited no further south than Ohio. For any drivers needing to go further than that, she suggested exiting at Ohio and taking LaSalle instead of braving the traffic to the interchange.