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Construction Begins On Navy Pier Flyover

Derrick Blakley Derrick Blakley
Derrick Blakley is a general assignment reporter for CBS 2...
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CHICAGO (CBS) — One of Chicago’s biggest bottlenecks doesn’t occur on the roadways, it’s on the lakefront trail where it passes Navy Pier.

Bikers, joggers, skaters and even cars compete and sometimes collide in their battle for the same real estate.

Work began Monday to make the trail a pleasure again, but even that involves some temporary pain, reports CBS 2’s Derrick Blakley.

Starting Monday, the right lane of northbound Lake Shore Drive is shut down for one block, between Illinois and Grand to allow crews to get to work on what’s being called the Navy Pier Flyover.

Work crews lopping off the top of a traffic light pole, one of the first steps in a project to clear congestion on the lakefront trail.

“I think this strip here is kind of a mess. It’s really inconvenient and cars get really angry at people and bicyclists. There’s nowhere for the pedestrians to go and bikes are driving by, especially during the summer months,” said bicyclist Mary Clare Butler.

“It’s very inconvenient and dangerous, too. Cars going faster here and a lot of people congestion on sidewalks,” said bicyclist Piortek Krol.

The $60 million flyover project will separate joggers and bikers from turning cars on a 16-footwide elevated path.

The flyover will occupy the space between the base of Lake Point Tower and the edge of Lake Shore Drive, giving pedestrians and bicyclists their own separate roadway.

Whether they’re joggers, or bikers or even dog walkers, users of the lakefront trail give the project an enthusiastic endorsement.

“I think it’s great the city of Chicago is making improvements and taking into consideration what the citizens want,” said dog owner Ann King.

For every improvement, there’s always a price to be paid.

The one-block lane closure on northbound Lake Shore Drive is expected to last into September, making it a little slower to escape downtown, especially during the evening rush.