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2-Mile Lake Shore Drive South Extension Officially Open

The two mile extension of Lake Shore Drive from 79th to 92nd is now complete. (Credit: CBS)

The two mile extension of Lake Shore Drive from 79th to 92nd is now complete. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (STMW) — A new, two-mile extension of South Lake Shore Drive opened Sunday, relocating U.S. Route 41 several blocks east and extending from South Shore Drive and 79th to Ewing, near 92nd.

The South Lake Shore Drive extension will carry traffic at a posted speed limit of 30 miles an hour.

The relocated Route 41 puts the road alongside 600 acres that once housed U.S. Steel’s South Works plant, which is being redeveloped.

Another difference drivers will notice: They’ll be able to drive without having to navigate the five curves that the old Route 41 included.

The $64 million extension has crabapple trees and coneflowers planted in the median, LED streetlights, bike lanes and parallel parking.

Paid for by city, state and federal taxes, the roadway includes traffic-sensitive traffic signals at 79th, Farragut, 81st, 83rd and 85th.

Groundbreaking could start in a year on the adjoining land, the last massive parcel of privately owned lakefront in Chicago. Planed for the site: more than 30 million square feet of commercial and residential space, including 14,000 housing units.

The relocated Route 41 means drivers from the north will find smoother access to the Chicago Skyway and Indiana.

And bicyclists will now be able to ride smooth, asphalt bike lanes from Rainbow Beach Park south to the Calumet River and continue on to the Burnham Greenway and Indiana.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)