CHICAGO (CBS)—The city is promising a Christmas gift to bicyclists—completion of two major sections of the Navy Pier Flyover.
Construction on the $60 million facelift that was supposed to provide a smoother connection for bikers and pedestrians near Navy Pier started four years ago, and still had not been completed by the end of the summer. The project remained a half-finished bridge made up of two unconnected sections between the north and south sides of the bike path.
People enjoying the outdoors near Navy Pier have still been dodging traffic and sharing narrow sidewalks. Signs warning of detours and construction zones still dot the area near Grand and Illinois Streets.
“It’s pretty dangerous riding thru here, especially in the summertime when there’s a lot of people here,” bicyclist Melanie Jansen said. “They’re all running and biking, and it’s not a good combination.”
Dog walker Kelsey Stanton said she’s always afraid she’s going to hit someone with her bike.
“Or they’ll cross under you and you’re afraid of hitting kids,” Stanton said.
Under construction since 2014, the Flyover will eliminate those worries, with upgrades that will take runners, bikers and pedestrians above traffic from Grand Avenue to the north edge of the Chicago River.
The construction is expected to be finished by Christmas.
“The piece that goes across the river entirely will get done next year,” said Ron Burke of Active Transportation Alliance.
But construction delays have been the stuff of legend.
The latest setback was caused by the need to repair Lake Shore Drive’s Chicago River bridge, which dates back to the Depression Era.
“Look here—we’re under a cruddy bridge,” runner Jeff French said. “Now we get on top and see the lake a little more—I’m looking forward to it.”
A city spokesperson acknowledges the project delays will increase the $60 million price tag, but how much is still unknown.