Category Archives: Chicago driving

Fall Bridge Lift Begins Saturday Morning

A small flotilla of boats passes through the open State Street Bridge on the Chicago River, Chicago, Illinois. Photo credit: Jeremy Atherton, © 2006.

A small flotilla of boats passes through the open State Street Bridge on the Chicago River, Chicago, Illinois. Photo credit: Jeremy Atherton, © 2006.

It’s the beginning of the end of summer–at least according to the Chicago Department of Transportation.

That’s because the fall bridge lift down the Chicago River begins this Saturday morning, September 17th at 9 AM.

The semi-annual lift takes place in spring to allow masted boats come from storage and into Lake Michigan for the summer boat season and, in late summer for the boats to leave the lake for the winter.

Starting with the Lake Shore Drive Bridge at 9 AM Saturday, CDOT crews will lift all 27 movable bridges on the South Branch of the Chicago River in succession all the way to Ashland Avenue.

Ohio Feeder Ramp Closed Early Sunday Morning

Detour signWeekend revelers partying downtown Saturday night may face some traffic frustration getting home after their night on the town.

That’s because the city plans a full closure of the Ohio Feeder ramp onto I-90/94 starting at 12:00 AM Sunday morning according to the Chicago Department of Transportation.

The closures will affect both east and westbound traffic for both local and express lanes of I-90/94.

CDOT says the closure is to necessary for the maintenance and testing of the Ohio Street Bridge. Lanes will re-open Sunday morning at 7.

Westbound Ontario Street tradfic will be detoured northbound on Orleans Street, then West on Division Street, then back onto Kennedy

For motorists driving on 90/94 west bound should exit on Milwaukee Avenue (Exit 49B), then go Southeast on Milwaukee Avenue to Chicago Avenue, then East on Chicago, then South on Orleans Street, then East on Ohio Street.

Eastbound drivers should exit on Washington Boulevard (Exit 51C), then go East on Washington Boulevard, then North on Franklin Street (which become Orleans Street after the river), then East on Ohio Street.

Illinois Rakes In Millions In Late Fees In License Plate Renewal Debacle

illinois-plateThe State of Illinois has some severe financial problems.

But, due to a series of unfortunate incidents, Illinois motorists have inadvertently contributed over $3.5 million in late fees for not renewing their license plate stickers on time according to the Illinois Policy Institute.

The story starts back in the fall when, due to the state’s budget impasse, the Secretary of State’s office decided to stop sending license plate renewal notices to Illinois drivers because there wasn’t enough money to afford the $450,000 per month in postage.

The net result was that tens of thousands of drivers forgot to renew their vehicle registration to get the annual sticker to place on their back license plate.

Rejected By City Over Pothole Claim, Driver Considers Lawsuit

Emily Mensching’s car hit a pothole on Peterson Avenue last May blowing out two tires and cracking two rims.

She filed a pothole damage claim with the city expecting to get some sort of compensation for the $1400 in damages her car suffered.

Surprisingly, despite several other pothole complaints at the same location Mensching’s claim was rejected according to NBC 5 News.

Pothole Dummy Spends Week Enjoying Chicago’s Pockmarked Streets

Most drivers try to avoid hitting potholes.

But not the Pothole Dummy, a specially modified vehicle that’s sole, bone jarring purpose is to hit and track  as many potholes as possible.

The Pothole Dummy car is at the center of a promotion by Advanced Auto Parts to show car owners how damaging and expensive potholes can be on cars. The Pothole Dummy car has been in town all week driving over potholes and has, as of Thursday slammed into nearly 1000 of Chicago’s potholes–a number that’s tracked online and on the top of the car.

Advanced points to a study by AAA which reports potholes cost drivers nearly $3 billion every year in repairs.

Pothole Dummy is live streaming its driving adventures in Chicago every day and you can catch up on all the antics you missed at their website.

Pothole Dummy leaves the Windy City after Friday.

CDOT: Street Paving System Off To Early Start

CDOT crews fill potholes on the North Side in 2013.

CDOT crews fill potholes on the North Side.

You know the joke.

In Chicago, there’s two seasons…winter and construction season.

This year the construction season off to an early start this year according to the Chicago Department of Transportation.

The unusually warm winter has led to a decrease in Old Man Winter’s annual pothole production and also allowed CDOT crews to get a jump on paving streets in need of repair. Calls to 311 to report potholes is down 30% for the first three months of 2016 compared to 2015 according to CDOT.

State Stops Sending Emissions Testing Reminders To Drivers

Illinois EPA emissions notice

First the Secretary of States stopped sending out renewal notices to Illinois drivers.

That’s because, due to the budget impasse in Springfield, the department couldn’t afford to pay the postage to mail out the reminders.

Unfortunately, this led many Chicago drivers to get ticketed for expired license stickers on their vehicles.

Now, the budget standoff between Governor Bruce Rauner, House Speaker Mike Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton has victimized drivers once again.

According to DNA Info, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has halted mailing emission test notices for motorists with vehicles which must pass an emissions test.

This temporary suspension of notices began in December, thus effecting vehicles with plate stickers that expire in March.

New Illinois Driving Laws Ring In The New Year

Gavel LawbookThere are many new Illinois laws which took effect on January 1st–but just a handful that impact drivers.

One new law (Public Act #99-0300) will allow the Secretary of State to issue a driver’s license to someone who’s license has been revoked in another state, but who’s been an Illinois resident for at least 10 consecutive years and follows the requirements for reinstatement of driving privilege under state law.

Speaking of the Secretary of State, that office will soon be issuing special license plates for rental cars that will replace renewal stickers for vehicle registration (Public Act #99-0080).

Pulled Over By Cops, But No Ticket For Google Self-Driving Car

Who’s driving that car so slow–someone’s grandmother?

No, it’s one of Google’s self-driving cars that was driving too slow and got pulled over by the cops in Mountainview, CA recently.

It seems the driverless car was holding up traffic by going 24 mph in a 35 mph zone so the police pulled it over.

But luckily for Google, no ticket was issued because there was no driver to ticket.

Alderman Proposes Camera Tickets For Drivers Blocking Intersections

Ald. Brandon Reilly cited the intersection of Randolph and La Salle as a problematic one. Photo credit: Ted Cox/DNA Info.

Ald. Brandon Reilly cited the intersection of Randolph and La Salle as a problematic one. Photo credit: Ted Cox/DNA Info.

First there was red light cameras.

Then there were speed cameras.

Now, if Alderman Brandon Reilly (42nd) has his way, there may be intersection cameras according to DNA Info.

During city council budget hearings focusing on the Department of Transportation, the downtown alderman discussed the problem of motorists who get stuck in the intersection after their traffic light turns red, thus blocking any cross traffic from moving through the intersection while the light is green. He specifically cited the intersection of Randolph and LaSalle just outside City Hall.