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Northbound Lake Shore Drive to remain closed until Tuesday evening commute

Crews work to repair bridge support beams on northbound Lake Shore Drive near Randolph Street, Tuesday morning, Feb. 12, 2019. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Crews work to repair bridge support beams on northbound Lake Shore Drive near Randolph Street, Tuesday morning, Feb. 12, 2019. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Part of northbound Lake Shore Drive will remain closed until Tuesday’s evening commute as crews work to repair bridge support beams that were found to be cracked on Monday morning.

About 10 a.m., Chicago Department of Transportation workers found cracks in structural steel girders that support Lake Shore over the ramp from Randolph Street, according to agency spokesman Mike Claffey.

The agency determined that “immediate repairs were needed” after engineers inspected the cracked beams, and a portion of the roadway was closed, Claffey said.

While inspecting the bridge, workers found another crack in a steel beam under the ramp from eastbound Wacker Drive to southbound Lake Shore Drive, Claffey said. The ramp was also temporarily closed.

CDOT crews will work overnight to build towers to support the structures while permanent repairs are made, Claffey said. Those permanent repairs will likely take several weeks.

No injuries have been reported and no vehicles have been damaged, Claffey said.

“Our number one priority is always the safety of the public and our workers,” he said.

Claffey said the agency believes the cracks were caused by a combination of corrosion and “extreme temperature swings.”  The bridge was built in 1986 and was last inspected in June of 2017, when it was found to be in “fair condition,” Claffey said. The next inspection was scheduled for June.

Claffey said the emergency repairs will have a “major impact” on traffic Tuesday.

Northbound Lake Shore Drive will remain closed at Randolph, according to CDOT. Eastbound traffic on Randolph will also be closed between Columbus Drive and Lake Shore.

Drivers will be able to use the Randolph and Wacker exit to get to those streets and access northbound Lake Shore over the river, CDOT said. Drivers looking to access southbound Lake Shore from the eastbound Wacker ramp should instead use the entrance at Columbus.

The closures will last until Tuesday’s evening rush and possibly longer, Claffey said.

Drivers affected by the closures are advised to use Interstate 90/94 as an alternative route or take public transportation, CDOT. Signs have been posted as far south as 43rd Street redirecting northbound drivers to I-90/94 from Interstate 55.