STREETERVILLE — Construction begins Monday on a four-year flyover bridge project that will connect Navy Pier to the lakefront bike and pedestrian trail.
The work will require closure of the right lane and shoulder of north-bound Upper Lake Shore Drive between Illinois Street and Grand Avenue, according to Ald. Brendan Reilly's (42nd) office. The off ramp between Upper Lake Shore Drive and Illinois Street will also be reduced to one lane.
Those closures are expected to last into September, Reilly's office said. Pedestrian and bike access to the Lakefront Trail will remain open throughout the project, but the path will detour as construction moves around DuSable and Jane Addams parks.
Despite the possible congestion, Gail Spreen, president of the Streeterville Organization of Active Residents, said the neighborhood welcomes the flyover project.
"The Streeterville community is extremely excited," she said. "The safety of residents, bicyclists, pedestrians and drivers is always at risk with the current situation of using the narrow sidewalks as the Lakefront Trail ... We also look forward to redeveloping the neglected Jane Addams Park and DuSable Park once these sections of the Flyover Bridge are completed."
The three-phase construction process begins at the northern end of the planned bridge, between Jane Addams Park and Ogden Slip through the end of next year, and is expected to be completed in its entirety by 2018. The project will cost $60 million.
Most impacted by the lengthy build-out are residents of Lake Point Tower at 505 N. Lake Shore Dr., which sits at the bend of the flyover and will be ensnared in its construction traffic for four years.
"We have not made any huge plans other than just making our residents aware of the bike and pedestrian rerouting," said Joanna Cocchico, the building's general manager.
Cocchico said the completed bridge will benefit the tower's "great number of outdoorsy [residents] — whether it's walking, running, bicycle and what not," she said. "More importantly, since we have that one lane of eastbound [traffic] on Grand where all the vehicles coming to the building make a turn from under Lake Shore Drive, there had been a lot of near-accidents there ... I think the flyover will address those concerns."
If plans to resurrect the Chicago Spire at 400 N. Lake Shore Dr. are successful while the Navy Pier Flyover is underway, this segment of Streeterville could be snarled with heavy construction traffic through 2018.
The Spire project is also estimated to take four years to complete.