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Navy Pier Flyover partially opens for bikers and runners

Those who use the Lakefront Trail will now be able to avoid some downtown traffic

The first section of the Navy Pier Flyover project opened just before 2019 and later on Thursday the 41st Street will open as well.

The long awaited pathway, which began construction in 2014, gives bikers and pedestrians using the Lakefront Trail an easy way to cross Grand and Illinois streets.

Rather than crossing busy, highly-trafficked downtown streets, people on the trail will eventually be able to avoid vehicles all together once the 2,160-foot span from Jane Addams Park and the Ohio Street beach to the south side of the Chicago River is complete.

“The Lakefront Trail is one of Chicago’s jewels, and this investment will create a seamless connection between the north and south sides of the Trail. It will make it safer and easier for everyone to get through the popular area near Navy Pier, whether they are walking, running or biking,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement.

The city also recently completed a project to separate the entire lakefront trail into pedestrian and bike paths. The improvements over the last few years, which have made the lakefront more accessible, are part of the mayor’s Building on Burnham plan. The initiative lays out ideas for the city’s parkland and infrastructure.

The completed section includes a stretch from Ontario Street to Illinois Street with a temporary wooden bridge down to Lower Lakeshore Drive path. The finished path is a 16-foot wide multi-use trail that ascends to ground level to cross over Grand and Illinois streets. It’s fully ADA accessible.

Work on the rest of the project will continue through 2019. The second phase of the Flyover includes the path over the Ogden Slip and DuSable Park that will connect to Lower Lake Shore Drive which will be complete by late spring 2019. The final, third phase will begin in early 2019.

The Lakefront Trail part of the project will wrap up at the end of 2019 but the structural and mechanical work on the Lake Shore Drive Bridge will continue into 2020. Stay up to date on the project by checking in for news on the Flyover project’s website.

During the Flyover announcement, the mayor also said he would head to the South Side to to open the 41st Street bike and pedestrian bridge. The city broke ground on that project last summer. After the 35th Street Bridge, which opened in 2016, this project will be the second of five bridge projects aimed at improving accessibility to the lakefront for South Side residents.

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