DOWNTOWN — The Clark Street Bridge Downtown will be closed to all traffic Tuesday through Friday this week and next so it can be raised to make room for the construction of a $43 million riverwalk below.
The plan calls for building a unified walkway that extends from State to Lake streets and featuring restaurants, retail space, boat docking, bike and kayak rentals and even a "swimming hole."
Managed by the Chicago Department of Transportation, the project is being funded with a $100 million loan from the U.S. Transportation Department that Mayor Rahm Emanuel lobbied for last spring.
Lizzie Schiffman discusses the riverwalk plans on DNAinfo Radio:
"The Chicago River is our second shoreline," Emanuel said in October 2012 when he first made the pitch to renovate the riverfront. "It is now time to celebrate this incredible waterway with the completion of the entire riverwalk project, from Lake Michigan to the confluence of the three branches."
The project will extend an existing riverwalk and will connect walkways stretching from State to Lake streets.
The walkway will be divided into "blocks," each with a different theme: The Marina (between State and Dearborn streets); The Cove (between Dearborn and Clark streets); The River Theater (between Clark and LaSalle streets); The Swimming Hole (between LaSalle and Wells streets); The Jetty (Wells to Franklin streets); and The Boardwalk (between Franklin and Lake streets).
The first phase of construction, expected to be completed later this year, will focus on the Marina, Cove and River Theater. The State and Dearborn street bridges will also be affected.
The second phase will begin next spring and concentrate on the remaining blocks.
The "Swimming Hole," the city says, "may include a feature such as zero-depth fountain."
The detours will send drivers west on Grand Avenue, south on LaSalle Street, then east on Wacker Drive to return to Clark Street and bypass the bridge. The bicycle detour goes east on Kinzie Street, south on Dearborn Street and west on Randolph Street, then returns to Clark Street.
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