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Category Archives: Chicago traffic

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.

LaSalle Street Bridge Repairs Begin Monday

CDOT logoThe LaSalle Street Bridge will be closed for repairs starting Monday, May 16th according to the Chicago Department of Transportation.

The bridge will be closed to all traffic from 9:30 AM until 3:30 PM for about a week. CDOT says crews will replace a center lock that has been out for repairs since last year.

According to CDOT, the repairs need to be completed before the final phase of the Riverwalk project is completed before it opens in the fall.

IDOT Working To Promote I-55 Managed Lane Project

The Illinois Department of Transportation is putting a lot of energy into promoting the proposed I-55 Managed Lane Project having produced a new website along with a video starring Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn explaining the project.

According to Blankenhorn, IDOT is considering managed lanes all over the state. In more rural areas expressways could have managed lanes for trucks, while urban areas may opt for dedicated bus or car pool lanes. IDOT hopes installing a managed lane on the Stevenson from Chicago to I-355 would be the easiest project for them to initiate the concept in Illinois.

The proposed concept for I-55 would be an express toll lane where drivers could pay a premium to bypass congestion on the freeway section of the expressway.

Check out IDOT’s new website dedicated to the project: www.i55managedlaneproject.org.

Chicago River Spring Bridge Lift Starts 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.

The City of Chicago’s annual bridge lift kicks off Saturday morning April 16th, on the city’s southwest side according to the Chicago Department of Transportation.

Every spring and fall in Chicago, the city schedules bridges over the Chicago River to be raised twice a week to allow sail boats with masts too high to go under city bridges, to move into and from Lake Michigan.

“The springtime lifting of Chicago’s iconic movable river bridges marks the beginning of the boating season each year and is a welcome sight for Chicagoans,” said CDOT Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld, who also serves as Chicago’s Harbor Master and has jurisdiction over the city’s waterways. “CDOT works with local boat storage yards each year to create a schedule that accommodates boats while causing the least amount of impact on downtown street traffic.”

On Saturday morning, the lift will begin at 8 AM at the Ashland Avenue Bridge with bridges lifting consecutively until the boats reach Lake Michigan.

Three teams of bridgetenders “leapfrog” each other between bridges along the river, in order to keep the process running as fast and smoothly as possible according to CDOT

Study Puts Chicago As 10th Most Congested U.S. City

2016Q1_TrafficIndex_Congestion_USA

The nation’s third largest city has only the 10th worst traffic congestion.

That’s where the annual TomTom Traffic Index ranks Chicago in this year’s report.

Los Angeles received the unwanted distinction of being the worst congested in the U.S. followed by San Francisco and New York City.

But surprisingly, cities like Seattle (#4), San Jose (#5) and Portland (#9) have more congestion than Chicago according to TomTom.

CDOT Announces Test Bridge Lifts Through End Of March

CDOT logoCity bridge tenders will be testing downtown bridges over the next two weeks according to the Chicago Department of Transportation.

On an almost daily basis, individual bridges will closed to traffic in order to raise and lower them in order to see if they’re in working order.

The annual spring bridge lift, where bridges spanning the Chicago River are lifted in succession on certain days between mid-April and June to allow tall masted watercraft to move down the river to Lake Michigan for the summer.

CDOT says bridge lifts will take place on weekends only this year, which is a change from previous years where lifts also occurred at least one day during the work week.

Here’s the closure schedule:

Congress Parkway Bridge Slated For Two Overnight Closures

CDOT logoRepairs and the installation of new equipment will force two overnight closures of the Congress Parkway Bridge according to the Chicago Department of Transportation.

The first night will be this Friday, March 11th from 1 AM to 5 AM, and the second will occur on Wednesday, March 16th from 1 AM to 5 AM.

Unspecified new equipment must be installed and then tested according to CDOT. This year’s spring boat lift, where bridges along the Chicago River are lifted in succession on scheduled days to allow high masted boats to return to Lake Michigan for the warm weather, will not begin until testing is complete.

CDOT says during the closure times, eastbound traffic will be detoured from Congress to Canal to Harrison to Wells and back to Congress. Westbound traffic will be detoured to Wells, Harrison, Canal and back to Congress.

Western Avenue Overpass Demolition Starts March 4th

EDITOR’S NOTE: The news story above aired in January. Since then, the construction schedule discussed at the end of the report has changed–see below.

The wrecking ball is finally coming for the Western Avenue Overpass.

After 55 years of life transporting 35,000 drivers a day above Belmont Avenue, the viaduct will be officially be closed on March 1st in advance of a weekend of intense demolition according to the Chicago Department of Transportation.

Western Avenue and the Belmont/Western/Clybourn intersection, will be closed to all traffic between Nelson and Roscoe Streets starting Friday, March 4th at 8 PM.

Chicago Ave. Bridge Closed 3 Days For Emergency Repairs

CDOT logoThe Chicago Department of Transportation announced Tuesday the Chicago Avenue Bridge is going to be closed to traffic for the next three days for emergency repairs.

An inspection of the bridge on Tuesday turned up enough problems to warrant full closures to motor vehicle traffic for the repairs form 9 AM to 5 PM on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. All other times, the one lane in each direction will be opened to traffic.

The bridge, which spans the North Branch of the Chicago River to the grating on the bridge and to supporting beams according to CDOT. Inspectors closed traffic to one lane in each direction on Tuesday after discovering the structural issues on the bridge.

Study: Good News For Motorists, Younger People Driving Less

National_Public_Radio_logo.svgGood news for drivers.

National Public Radio reports on a new study from the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute which seems to indicate the number of young people who don’t drive is increasing.

The trend in car ownership and driver’s license holders is decreasing among all age groups but is most dramatically down in younger demographics.

One metric NPR pulls out is that only 69% of 19-year olds had a driver’s license in 2014, compared to 90% in 1983. While driver’s licenses among twenty-somethings is down 13% compared to 30 years ago.

NPR writer David Schaper reports from Chicago and interviews a handful of folks, both young and older, who don’t or have recently given up driving.