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Congress Parkway Bridge Finally Reopens

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Congress Parkway Bridge

Construction on the Congress Parkway Bridge to the Eisenhower Expressway. (Credit: CBS)

Untitled-1 Kris Habermehl
Kris Habermehl is a lifelong Chicagoan who has been flying since the...
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UPDATED 05/15/12 9:52 a.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — For the past two years, getting to the Eisenhower Expressway from downtown has been a miserable experience, with traffic jams all along Congress Parkway as lanes of the bridge remained closed from the bridge east all the way to Michigan Avenue.

But as CBS 2’s Kris Habermehl reports, the work is done at last. Congress Parkway fully reopened Tuesday morning.

Gov. Pat Quinn officially reopened the bridge and thoroughfare at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Work has been in progress on the bridge since April 1, 2010. It was supposed to be completed by the end of last year, but was delayed for a variety of reasons.

Illinois Department of Transportation spokesman Guy Tridgell said back last August that there had been a few unexpected mechanical and technical problems, as well as a brief construction workers’ strike.

The project involved rebuilding the whole double-bascule, Chicago-style drawbridge over the South Branch of the Chicago River, as well as the bridge deck.

The complex project also involved building new ramps to Upper and Lower Wacker Drive, Franklin Street, and Harrison Street.

Meanwhile, the other major route to the Eisenhower Expressway from downtown remains inaccessible. The north-south leg of Lower Wacker Drive is being rebuilt stretch by stretch, and will not be completed until the end of the year.

Work is now in progress between Monroe and Adams streets in the Wacker Drive project, which began back in June 2010.

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