CHICAGO (CBS) — City officials broke ground Wednesday on the next phase of construction of the Navy Pier Flyover, which promises to save pedestrians and bicyclists the hassle of navigating a crowded sidewalk on Lower Lake Shore Drive downtown.
The Navy Pier Flyover is an elevated path being built alongside Lake Shore Drive between the Chicago River and Ohio Street Beach.
The flyover was designed to separate cyclists and pedestrians who use the Lakefront Trail from cars on Lower Lake Shore Drive, where the trail currently forces them to navigate a narrow and often congested sidewalk with no physical barrier between the path and the road.
Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld said the latest phase of the project is the elevated trail between Illinois and Grand streets.
“Pedestrians and bicyclists will be able to travel along the Lakefront Trail uninterrupted from Jane Addams Park on the north side of Grand all the way to the north side of the River here, and connecting back into the lower level of Lake Shore Drive, and continuing on on the east side of Lake Shore Drive,” she said.
The flyover would provide separate trails for pedestrians and bicyclists, to reduce congestions, and eliminate the shouts of “on your left” as bikes try to navigate through crowds of pedestrians – sometimes choosing to pull onto Lower Lake Shore Drive to get around congestion near Navy Pier.
“That safety goal that we have set will finally be accomplished,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said.
The project started in 2014, and originally was supposed to be finished by next year, but completion has been pushed back to 2019, due to design issues related to repairs needed on the Lake Shore Drive bridge.