Bridges, Viaducts, and Waterways

CDOT is responsible for more than 300 bridge and viaduct structures, including 37 operable movable bridges along the Chicago and Calumet rivers. CDOT designs, builds and maintains the structures that are a critical part of the city’s transportation network through its Capital Bridge and Bridge Maintenance Programs. Whenever possible, traffic continues to flow during construction of these vital links to Chicago’s roadway grid.

Viaduct clearance heights are posted by CDOT at each viaduct along the streets and highways in Chicago. The posted clearances serve as a guideline and are advisory only. 

In addition, CDOT maintains and monitors the series of freight tunnels beneath the Central Business District.

The Commissioner of the Department of Transportation is also the Harbor Master for the City of Chicago.  CDOT has jurisdiction over the Lake Michigan harbors, the Chicago River, the Calumet River and any of its tributaries.

CDOT works with the Chicago Park District, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to reconstruct deteriorated revetment structures along the Lake Michigan Shoreline.  Reconstruction includes concrete and steel sheet pile stair-step revetments, beaches with piers and groins, and rubblemound stone revetments.

Chicago’s current Riverwalk was designed and built by CDOT.  Conceptual designs began in 2001 with the reconstruction East-West Wacker Drive. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial between Wabash and State was first phase of the Riverwalk Project and was dedicated on Veterans Day in 2005.  The under bridge connections at Michigan and Wabash were completed in 2009 providing an uninterrupted route along the Main Branch of the Chicago River from State Street to Lake Michigan.  The Riverwalk build out will eventually resume at State Street and end at Lake Street.  CDOT provides landscape maintenance for the Riverwalk and has partnered with the Chicago Park District to provide vendors and concessions along the path.