Michigan Ave. Ramp To Lake Shore Drive Closing For Six Weeks

A construction sign flashes the dates when the Michigan Ave. entrance ramp viaduct will be closed

UPDATE: Construction crews closed the Michigan Ave. entrance ramp to northbound Lake Shore Drive early Monday morning to begin their six week construction project.

Thousands of drivers who use the Michigan Avenue entrance ramp to Lake Shore Drive will have to find an alternative way onto LSD starting October 1st.

The Chicago Department of Transportation announced it will be close the northbound viaduct entrance ramp (at Oak Street) to the drive for six weeks for major repairs until mid-November.

Vehicles wishing to access Lake Shore Drive from downtown will be detoured along the Inner Lake Shore Drive for one mile to LaSalle & North Avenue in order to enter the northbound lanes of LSD.

CDOT says it will be deploying traffic control aides as well as adjusting the timing on traffic lights to expedite and ease the increased traffic along the detour route.

The Southbound exit ramp from Lake Shore Drive to Michigan Ave. will not be affected by the construction and will remain open to traffic. But there may be intermittent lane closures during nighttime hours in both directions on LSD for repairs to the top side of the viaduct.

CDOT says they recently identified structural integrity issues with the underside of the entrance ramp viaduct–a structure that has not seen major repair work since it was originally constructed nearly a half century ago.

“This repair project is necessary due to the deteriorated condition of the concrete of the viaduct deck and retaining walls of the ramp, which has not seen any significant rehabilitation since its original construction in 1963,” said CDOT Commissioner Gabe Klein. “We want to complete this repair work immediately before another winter cycle of freezing and thawing, as well as additional damage that could come from the use of road salt.”

“It is not dangerous, but is in need of repair as soon as possible,” says CDOT spokesperson Peter Scales.

Construction crews will be working to repair the concrete retaining walls, the underside and top side of the viaduct as well as repairs to the electrical infrastructure and wiring.

“Shoring will be installed on the underside of the concrete deck, unsound concrete will be removed and repairs will be made with “shotcrete,” Scales explains. “For the retaining walls and top side of the deck, similarly, the unsound concrete will be removed and will be repaired with formed concrete. The work also includes miscellaneous electrical and lighting upgrades.”

This project adds one more construction effort for motorists who routinely travel on Lake Shore Drive as the city just recently began a resurfacing project the first week of September.

A total of 2.75 miles of the drive is being repaved in two sections between North and Belmont Avenues as well as between Sheridan and Foster Avenues. This project is scheduled to end by early November.

5 Responses to Michigan Ave. Ramp To Lake Shore Drive Closing For Six Weeks

  1. And repaved and repaved and repaved and repaved.

  2. David says:

    Tomorrow is going to be “fun”. It is also the Last Friday in the Month which means that the Critical Mass(holes) will be out. I have tried, as a responsible cyclist, to have a reasoned discussion with them on The Chainlink, but the general response is that “critical mass is just a bunch of people getting together to ride” and that it is not intended to be a political statement (and similar garbage). A number of us suggested that a more effective statement would be a mass ride in which the riders showed the power of bicycling by engaging in a mass ride… say up LaSalle Street to Lincoln Park… in which the Bicycle Riders carefully followed ALL of the traffic laws. But the vocal few shouted us down. Sigh.

  3. Jeff says:

    Had this viaduct been properly maintained over the last 50 years, there would be no need for a six week shutdown (beginning in October, one of the busiest months of the Chicago convention calendar). This same failure to plan/maintain is what gave us the ongoing three year shutdown of Wacker Drive. Another epic FAIL for CDOT.

  4. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    David, I really like you. You are seriously one of the good guys.

    We need a few more responsible/reasonable cyclists on the roads (as well as more reasonable drivers) like you.

  5. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    David,

    It has always been my understanding, although not 100% confident in this belief, that Critical Mass was intended as a political statement addressing and/or promoting many of the issues which face bicycle riders today. Are you saying the political aspect of the ride has been watered down to just a reason to ride with a lot of other bikers and cause traffic jams?

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